How Nottingham Forest boss Aitor Karanka came to Costel Pantilimon’s rescue at ‘exactly the time I needed it most’

Nottingham Forest goalkeeper Costel Pantilimon says Aitor Karanka came to his rescue at “exactly the time when I needed it most”. The Watford shot-stopper had been in and out of the Deportivo La Coruna team during his previous loan spell in the first half of the season, making just seven appearances for the Spanish side. He switched to the Reds on the final day of the January transfer window, though, and has not looked back since, becoming one of the first names on the team-sheet after cementing his place as Karanka’s first-choice between the posts. And having also suffered a frustrating time at his parent club, being unable pin down a place, Pantilimon is grateful for the faith shown in him by the Forest manager. Read More
“It was very important for me,” he said, when asked about enjoying regular game time at the City Ground. “As I have said before, I am very grateful to the manager because he has given me a hand exactly at the time when I needed it most. “I didn’t have the best time before I came here, with a few ups and downs, which was not exactly what I wanted. “But I am very happy with the decision I took to come here and I am very pleased with what is happening, so I have to say thank you for the support. “I can only say good things about what is happening here.” 




Forest boss Aitor Karanka
 (Image: JMS Photography/Mark Fear)
Pantilimon, who has stated he is keen to return to the City Ground next year, was one of two goalkeepers brought in by Karanka, with Stefanos Kapino arriving to provide back-up on the bench. It means Jordan Smith, who started the campaign as Forest No.1, has found himself out of the matchday squad, while Dimitar Evtimov has also struggled to get a chance. With plenty of competition in the ranks, Pantilimon knows he cannot afford to rest on his laurels. Read More
“Everyone is a good goalkeeper and everyone is working hard,” he said. “To have that competition is a great thing for the club because the competition is good for the team and it helps us grow and achieve what we want.” In the short-term, the Romanian is looking for a strong finish to the season. Karanka’s men ended a six-match winless run on Saturday when they came from behind to beat Ipswich Town, 2-1. With four games left to play, Pantilimon wants the Reds to build some momentum ahead of what they hope will be a more positive year next time around. Asked what his aims were in the final run-in, he told the club programme before the weekend’s clash: “To win every game from now until the end of the season, to build something important such as a good mentality for the next campaign, and for everyone to understand that we can do good things here at this club. “Everyone wants the same thing, to see the team in the Premier League, but it is a long way away and we have to work hard to do exactly what the manager is trying to show us and achieve.”........

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