Sabri Lamouchi warned Nottingham Forest that they need to improve in order to gain promotion after returning to the Sky Bet Championship play-off places with a 3-1 win over Luton.
Harry Cornick gave the visitors a deserved lead but Joe Lolley’s brace and a late penalty from Lewis Grabban gave the home side a deserved win at the City Ground.
However, Lamouchi was not impressed by his side’s sluggish start.
“The way we played the first half was not so well,” the Frenchman said.
“Much better in the second half, enough to win the game. Happy with the result to win at home in front of our fans is important but we need to play much better than we did in the first half.
“I don’t know why we start like this. We suffered a lot, couldn’t make three passes in a row, but luckily we equalised before the break and the commitment was much better than the first half.
“The last time Nottingham forest played the play-offs was a long time ago. I’m not so crazy to imagine something (promotion) impossible.
“Some people can start to believe but my job is just to focus on the next game and we will see where we will be.
“We need to play much better than now. Do you think Nottingham Forest can get promoted automatically playing like that in the first half? The answer is no.”
The hosts made a lethargic start and were given a warning after three minutes when James Bree curled in two free-kicks from the left which caused panic in the Forest backline, with Dan Potts firing over from six yards after 11 minutes.
The visitors went in front after 23 minutes when Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu played in Potts down the left and he cut the ball back from the byline to Cornick, who steered a low finish past Brice Samba.
Going behind sparked Forest into life and they levelled after 36 minutes when Yuri Ribeiro sprayed a crossfield ball out to the right flank and Lolley jinked inside before his low shot squeezed under Simon Sluga, who should have done better.
Lolley gave Forest the lead after 57 minutes when Ben Watson picked him out on the right touchline and, after an excellent first touch, the 27-year-old cut inside and gave Sluga no chance with a powerful strike into the top corner.
Forest were awarded a penalty late on when Silva’s free-kick struck Sonny Bradley’s hand in the wall and Grabban made no mistake from 12 yards.
Luton have now lost their last 11 away games in all competitions – conceding at least twice in each of them – and will need to end their nightmare run on the road to stand any chance of preserving their place in the second tier.
“I don’t think everything went for us but I’m satisfied with the first-half performance,” said Graeme Jones, who felt Mpanzu was fouled in the build-up to Forest’s equaliser.
“We all know what happened with the first goal, it could have been a free-kick.
“It’s about us taking our destiny in our own hands.
“We’ve got to start putting up positive results and I really believe with everybody fit – if we bring people in it will help – we’ll have a chance.”