Philippe Montanier was keen to stress the importance of Nottingham Forest's 3-1 victory over Birmingham at the City Ground.

The Frenchman had found himself under pressure for the first time, following a six-match winless streak in the Sky Bet Championship, but saw his side put an end to that in style by condemning Birmingham to their first defeat on the road in nine games.

Eric Lichaj gave the hosts a half-time lead, only the second time he has found the net for Forest, before goals from substitutes Apostolos Vellios and Hildeberto Pereira came either side of a Lukas Jutkiewicz header that had briefly given Birmingham hope.

"It was an important win, because we had been having some bad moments. The results are always a consequence of what you do on the pitch," said Montanier, who watched the game from the stands as he served the first of a two-match touchline ban.

"The staff and players were very focused to apply what we had worked on. We showed real character. In the end we were solid physically and mentally.

"It is a good sign for the future. I am very happy, because we needed the points. It felt like there was a lot at stake for us. We will enjoy the victory, because we worked hard during the international break.

"We had two weeks to work and we worked hard on various ways we could play, on how we could get the result we wanted.

"I am a little disappointed, because we did not keep a clean sheet and I felt we deserved one. Maybe we will get one in the next game. We had a good view in the directors box, better than on the bench. It was not a problem. The view was good."

Birmingham boss Gary Rowett was honest in his assessment, admitting his team were not good enough.

"It was frustrating in different ways," he said. "The first thing and the most important thing is that we were nowhere near the standard we have set this season. In the first half in particular, we were very, very poor. We did not get any passing going and we were too predictable.

"Forest caused us problems early on, but we did settle down and get into some reasonable positions. But we did not turn that into a shot or a chance.

"We did much better in the second half and we ended up at 2-1 and we knew that Forest had conceded a lot of goals in the final stages of games. We knew that we could exploit that and we should have done at 2-1.

"I was not happy with some of the refereeing decisions. But I thought Forest deserved it. They had more energy and desire.

"They were perhaps a team that hadn't won for six and were determined to put it right and we looked like a side who had only lost one in 11 and thought it would not be hard to get another result."