Nottingham Forest picked up their first three points of the season this weekend after a dominating 3-0 win against Birmingham City.

Joe Lolley stepped up and got his first goal and assist of the campaign, while the Blues’ misery was compiled by Lewis Grabban who netted the third goal.

Reds supporters have been on cloud nine since that victory, claiming that Sabri Lamouchi has completely turned this side around and they have been waxing lyrical about the general performance.

Despite the win, there are areas that need addressing. In particular, the Reds need to improve their ball retention and the quality of their possession.

Lamouchi’s side have gone against the grain of the modern trend of playing out from the back, Michael Dawson attempted a staggering 23 long balls during the Birmingham game, while defensive midfielder Ben Watson attempted 12. Both men completed less than 50 per cent of their attempted long passes.

The East Midlands club had a pass success rate of 73% against the Blues, meaning that over a quarter of their passes weren’t finding the mark.

This has been a worrying trend so far this season for the Reds as they actually have the seventh-worstpass completion rate in the league.

A look at the best passers in the division tells us all we need to know about how important that statistic is.

West Brom, Leeds and Fulham lead the way in terms of pass success rate, and it’s no coincidence that these three are red hot favourites for promotion.

Unsurprisingly, other teams below Forest in that particular table also look for a lot of long balls, but the difference is that many of them utilise a target man as a striker.

Lukas Jutkiewicz won the most aerial duels in the league last year at Birmingham, Robert Glatzel at Cardiff won three aerial duels this weekend, Millwall have the six-foot-six Matt Smith to aim for.

Forest, on the other hand, don’t have that outlet as Grabban wins just 0.3 aerial duels per game.

Instead, the Reds look to play it long out to the wings, but many of these passes don’t find the mark as their long-ball success rate from this weekend shows.

Perhaps Lamouchi’s team would be better off implementing a more concerted style of passing in order to retain possession while still getting the ball to the desired position. Otherwise, they’ll continue to needlessly give the ball away at a startling rate, and against the top sides, they won’t be able to get away with that.