Nottingham Forest chief Stuart Pearce knew Norwich City were vulnerable

Nottingham Forest manager Stuart Pearce praised his side's character after a late comeback. Picture

Nottingham Forest manager Stuart Pearce praised his side's character after a late comeback. Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Stuart Pearce had plenty of sympathy for Norwich City after his Nottingham Forest side inflicted a painful 2-1 Championship defeat on the Canaries.

The Reds' chief was in desperate need of a win to halt Forest's own decline, with Michail Antonio's stoppage time strike sealing a first victory in 10 league games after Britt Assombalonga had cancelled out Jonny Howson's first half opener.

Pearce knew the Canaries could wilt in the closing stage after arriving in Nottingham on the back of a 4-0 loss at Middlesbrough and in the midst of their own recent struggles.

'They came here on the back of a 4-0 defeat, the victory against Bolton, and prior to that a shaky spell and that is this league,' he said. 'Every team is going to go through that so I know where they are coming from and what they are feeling. The game was like a runaway train at the end. You could not have stopped it, we had too many offensive players on the pitch. I just thought when we got back to 1-1, 'What have we got to lose? Let's go and win it'. They would have settled for a point but our boys wouldn't have.'

The Forest legend led the wild celebrations around the City Ground in the aftermath of Antonio's close-range finish, which was triggerd by a swift counter from a Norwich corner deep in time added on.

'There was a lot of relief at the final whistle and that is the nature of where we are at,' he said. 'We heaped so much pressure on ourselves with the run we have been on that we are playing with that element of fear and panic that we weren't at the start of the season and we just need to get back to that again.

'You can speak about it all day long but the only thing likely to relieve that tension is a victory.'