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Nottingham Forest had nothing at all to do with the tumult in the transfer market. Initially, the media had still been expecting a huge storm in the transfer market due to Twain's return to Nottingham Forest. In the end, he bought Chen Jian and let go of David Sliva after much deliberation.

The team's results in January were two wins, two draws and one loss. It was not outstanding, but the results were not too bad either.

This was the current situation of Nottingham Forest. Twain's return might have stabilized the team morale but the team's results did not rise all the way to the top immediately. The team was still hovering at the area below average even though they had managed to escape relegation.

The media mostly believed that Twain's return had a huge influence because Nottingham Forest had immediately escaped relegation, but this was not the intended outcome for Twain. His internal motive was not revealed to the public but he did not care if the media knew about it, because they would have no effect on him anyway. That said, he still needed to find a suitable opportunity to reveal his own goals to the players. This was because it would be impossible to reach his goal if the players did not know what he was thinking and were not in sync with him.

Why did he need to find an ideal opportunity? Because this goal was a little too ambitious for the current Nottingham Forest, and Twain sometimes feared he was not being realistic. It was certain that the people on today's team were not the same as the ones in the past. Twain himself was not sure whether it was still possible to reach his goals.


The happiest circumstance for Twain was that Chen Jian had integrated so quickly into the team.

Perhaps it was because Chen Jian had played with Nottingham Forest and so did not appear as a complete stranger to the team. Or maybe it was because his technique specialties were similar to Wood, so it would be natural for him to fit into the playing style of Nottingham Forest. There was no need for any special adjustment for the team to operate as normal.

At the same time, Chen Jian was able to speak fluent English since he used to live in Nottingham for three years, so he would not feel foreign in the current environment. As such, the language barrier would not be a difficulty when it came to him adapting to his new teammates.

After staying for a week at the hotel, he moved out of there because his agent Xia Yang had found a place for him to stay in the city. He bought the apartment under Chen Jian's name and the latter immediately moved in.

While he was settling into his new house, Xia Yang temporarily stayed over to cook for Chen Jian and take care of his accommodation and meals. At the same time, he also handled the necessary procedures to move Chen Jian's parents over to Nottingham. Once his parents arrived, Xia Yang would no longer need to act as a housekeeper.

"You can't find another agent like me in the world, Jian!" While cooking dinner for Chen Jian, Xia Yang stressed his importance to the young man, who was sitting at the dining table playing with his mobile phone. "Helping you to earn money, taking care of buying you a house, a car, your furniture… and I'm even making soup for you. I'm basically your babysitter. Your Uncle Xia is supposed to be a great agent who manages hundreds of Chinese football players!"

Chen Jian had been in the middle of sending a flirty text to a girl he met on his trip back to China last year. After he heard what Xia Yang said, he lifted his head and replied, "The manager was supposedly a nanny, haven't you heard this song, Uncle Xia?"

"What song?"

"Being her chauffeur, her deliveryman, and her ATM," Chen Jian hummed.

"Hey!" Xia Yang rolled his eyes. "It's the girl who's putting you up to this, no?"

Chen Jian shook his head. "Cui Cui is a very intelligent, kind and sensible girl."

"Wow," Xia Yang smiled. "This is definitely a case of being blinded by love. Everything looks great through the rosy lens of love."

Chen Jian knew that Xia Yang was playing around with him and was not really dissatisfied with Cui Cui. Hence, he did not continue to bother Uncle Xia and kept chatting about anything and everything with his girlfriend.

The fragrance wafted into the dining hall from the kitchen.

Chen Jian suddenly said without lifting his head, "Use less salt, Uncle Xia."

"I'm making my share!" Xia Yang's voice carried out from the same direction.

Chen Jian had always insisted on eating like an athlete because this assisted him in maintaining his physique and fitness. However, normal humans were unable to eat his food at all. Xia Yang once ate the same meal as Chen Jian out of curiosity and commented that it was tasteless like candle wax. Hence, whenever Xia Yang lived with Chen Jian, he would always make two separate servings for each meal—one athlete's meal for Chen Jian and one regular meal for himself.

Xia Yang would use various kinds of gourmet dishes to tempt Chen Jian who was eating at the same table, but Chen Jian was simply unswayable. He just ate his own athlete's meal. Xia Yang felt a huge sense of defeat and could only complain about Chen Jian not knowing how to enjoy life. He would not even buy a mansion after earning so much money. Other than giving his parents back home a big house to live in, he himself did not have any expectations or wants for his own accommodation. On top of that, he did not buy luxury cars or go chasing after superstars… Now, he was even losing the luxury of enjoying good food. What was the point of earning so much money?

Chen Jian ignored his complaints and continued doing his thing.

However, Xia Yang was also very proud of him, because these were the secrets to why Chen Jian was able to succeed in Europe. He was modest, hardworking, and temperate. Xia Yang had never praised Chen Jian to his face but always used him as a role model for other players he was responsible for, telling them that Chen Jian's model was the route to success.

If a professional football player wanted to succeed and extend his professional lifespan, then discipline in living and eating could not be compromised. This was also why Twain had so much confidence in Chen Jian, so much so that the man would rather bring him back to Nottingham Forest and allow him to be one of the key players in the "Twain generation". By nature, Asian players' peak periods were usually shorter, and this was related to their physical condition. After 30, their lifestyle would start on a steep downfall and if they did not pay special attention to their health, the decline would be rapid.

This would never happen to Chen Jian.

Xia Yang first placed Chen Jian's dinner on the table, then went back to carry over his clay pot of rice.

After they started eating, Xia Yang asked Chen Jian, his mouth full, "Are you going to start in the upcoming weekend match?"

Chen Jian put down the knife and fork, thought about it and shook his head. "I don't know."

"Hey, can't you tell if Twain's paying attention to you?"

"If I were to tell from the performance in training, I should be starting, but I can't guess what the head coach is thinking."

In fact, other than the first two matches where Chen Jian played as a reserve, he started in all the subsequent matches. Judging by that, Chen Jian thought he should be starting in the next match unless he suffered an injury before it.

However, it was just as Chen Jian had said: Xia Yang could not predict what Twain was thinking either.


It was not just Xia Yang and Chen Jian; not even the media could not guess what Twain was thinking.

The upcoming weekend match would be Nottingham Forest's match against Arsenal. This would be another encounter between Arsene Wenger and Tony Twain. This match was a matter of wild speculation by many, otherwise, Xia Yang would not ask Chen Jian whether he was going to start. The match would be broadcasted live on China's television. This was going to be a huge chance to display a Chinese football superstar.

Before the game, the media had finally gotten a juicy tidbit–Twain's initiative to provoke a war of words.

In an interview, he claimed that although Arsenal was now third in the table, his team had full confidence in beating Arsenal on away ground.

In the current situation, anyone knew that Nottingham Forest's capabilities and results were poor. In the first half of the season, Nottingham Forest had been humiliated by Arsenal on their home court in a 1:4 loss, such was the gap in performance between the two teams.

"We all know that Twain wants revenge, but this will be a little too hard to exact…." That was what the media said. "Arsenal is not like Middlesbrough, so it would be too difficult for Nottingham Forest to be victorious."

"This statement was expected. I think it's possible to guess what tricks Twain is trying to pull. He is simply trying to agitate Arsenal, get them to lose their calm judgment and draw a benefit from that. But this will not work today. Wenger is very calm and calculative; he will definitely not fall for such provocation."

"He's probably just talking big but actually not hoping to win over his opponents. He's probably just trying to give his players confidence. "


"Simply saying a few words would give you all a lot of confidence? This is ridiculous! "

In Wilford, two days before the game, Twain was giving his players one of their last tactical lessons. Tomorrow, the lesson would take place in North London's hotel.

Twain did not only discuss tactics during his tactical lessons.

"Is there anyone who has had doubts these few days?" Twain asked the players, who were sitting down.

No one said "yes", but in reality, they all doubted, and not only a little. Since the start of Twain's coaching, they had never seen their head coach initiating a provocation on his opponent.

However, the older players who have trained under Twain for a very long time were not surprised.

"I'm going to make it clear in advance that I'm not bluffing or trying to give you all any bullsh*t confidence."

Twain unconsciously used a few profanities.

"If I said I want to win over Arsenal, then I really mean that I want to win over Arsenal."

His words caused a huge stir among the players. Arsenal was now third in the league. They were only one point behind the second place and just three points behind first-placed Manchester United. Nottingham Forest, on the other hand, was 13th, 15 points behind Arsenal. The huge gap in the rankings was actually a representation of the difference in capabilities between Nottingham Forest and Arsenal.

They had just lost to Arsenal in the first half of the season on home court, so there was seemingly little hope to win against them in an away game.

Twain saw the hesitation and lack of confidence in their eyes.

He grinned. "What? A team like Arsenal would scare you guys to death? Look at how incapable you guys are. Actually, since I took over the team, I have always had a concept, but was hesitating whether to tell you guys… it might not be possible to turn it into reality."

His words had baited so many of them—what thoughts would make the head coach so hesitant?

"I didn't have a press conference when I came back so no one asked me what kind of future I was going to bring to Nottingham Forest." Twain saw that everyone was interested in what he was going to say, so he knew the time was right. "But I think that most people would feel it would be to successfully stay in the same league," He paused. "If that is so, then we have already completed that task. Then why do we still need to work hard for the second half of the season?"

Once he said this, everyone realized what he meant. If they only wanted to maintain their league, from the current performance of the team, it should not be a problem.

"So my goal was actually not just to maintain our spot in the league. From the start, it was never just that. My goal is to return to Europe," Twain calmly stated his real goal, but the players listening were not as composed.

There was an immediate animated discussion. Not even one of them had expected their head coach would have such huge ambitions!

In fact, returning to Europe was not a long way off. In the first half of the season, they had played in the Europa League (formerly the League Cup). They had also played in the Champions League and the Europa League in previous seasons. However, hearing this today, why did it feel that they had not appeared in Europe for a very long time?

After the discussion died down, Twain went on, "So, our lowest target this season will be the Europa League. Are there people who do not like participating in European competitions?"

"No!" There were many voices that answered this time.

"Well, it looks like we've found something we have in common," Twain smiled. "As for me, I love challenges and victories. If we simply end the league on this note, it will be very uninteresting. But now I want to confirm something—" Twain paused for a while.

"How many more people have that ambition?"

As he spoke, he looked directly at everyone present.

He wanted to remember each and everyone's reaction.

Some people were excited, some were in doubt, and some were confused.

"Do you know why I said we're able to defeat Arsenal?" Twain observed everyone's reaction, then continued talking.

"If you're in doubt over something like this, then there would be no way for you to return to Europe. I want you all to find your lost confidence. This confidence is not what we had while facing Notts County F.C! I want you so fearless that you are not moved at all when facing a strong opponent!

Twain raised his fist in front of the players.

"If you can only be fearless in front of easier opponents but give up entirely against strong ones, then that isn't confidence, that is inferiority! Inferiority in its core!"

"As soon as I said we were going to beat Arsenal, some people were so scared. How can that be? You guys want to go to Europe in the future, so you are bound to face many stronger opponents. If it scares you, why not quit football altogether?" Twain spread his arms, facing them. "This is a tragedy. The Nottingham Forest of four years ago stole away the Championship from Real Madrid in Estadio Santiago Bernabéu stadium in front of eight million fans, but today you guys only have this much courage?"

No one could answer him, because there were too many people among them who did not experience that game. However, those who had played back then were red with embarrassment and lowered their heads. How would they even dare to open their mouths and talk?

Why was Nottingham Forest falling deeper and deeper into a slump with every year that passed?

They had lost the heart to fight for the championships along with the man who had been the core of their team…

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