By David Woods

7th Mar, 2020 | 9:30am

One down: Rival manager throws in towel, admits top-two spot gone - Stuart Pearce responds

Nottingham Forest manager Sabri Lamouchi has said the best his side can do now is the play-offs after a shock 3-0 defeat to Hull on Friday night. 

Leeds fans were delighted to see Matt Smith score a quickfire hat-trick in the first half of the game and it means Forest have won just one game since they celebrated beating Marcelo Bielsa’s men.

Talking live on Sky Sports after the game (Friday, 9.45pm), Lamouchi said, “Now it’s a tough moment but nothing is finished, we have nine games.

“Direct promotion, this is out. I never talk about direct promotion. We are in the playoffs and we would like to stay in the playoff zone and we want to be in the playoffs at the end.”

Former Nottingham Forest player Stuart Pearce was in the Sky studio and agreed with the assessment.

“I thought before the game that Forest had to win this to stand any realistic chance of getting in the top two positions,” Pearce said.

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“He said himself he thinks it’s beyond them now and staying in the playoffs and making sure they’re strong is key to him now.”

Forest had to put together a big run to catch Leeds and having played one game more, and with an eight-point gap, it’s looking highly unlikely now.

Realistically, barring a major slip from Leeds, that just leaves Fulham, who play in the early kick-off away at Bristol City.

If they lose as well it will be a dream weekend for Leeds before they even kick a ball.

If all their rivals lose and Leeds win it will be another huge step towards the Premier League.

In other Leeds United news, Matt Le Tissier & Jeff Stelling predict score in Leeds v Huddersfield clash