May 25, 2024

Latest Nottingham Forest news as Nuno Espirito Santo’s Reds fight for Premier League survival.
Nottingham Forest face a crucial encounter this weekend as the focus shifts back to the pitch.

The Reds have been the subject of much controversy this week, following their furious tweet following Sunday’s 2-0 loss at Everton. The repercussions from the club’s social media post continues, but Nuno Espirito Santo’s side must concentrate on their game against Manchester City at the City Ground.

There was lots to speak about before Sunday’s game as Forest reporter Sarah Clapson hosted a live Q&A session on our Reds Facebook page. Here’s how things turned out.

Q: Has the performance of the referees and VAR improved significantly? Get the penalties and convert, and the game will change, affecting performance.

A:Forest’s tweet at full-time on Sunday sparked a lot of discussion because of how it was worded. But there was a larger issue that was almost neglected, and it is one that many people would likely agree with. It is about refereeing standards and the overall use of VAR.

Forest has been on the receiving end of some contentious calls this season. They are not the only ones, but their list of complaints is exceptionally lengthy.

But how can you improve refereeing standards and the VAR system? It does require examination, but how you go about fixing it is another story.

Steve Cooper talked about it a lot when he was in charge, because, as we all know, it isn’t just Nuno Forest who has felt unjustly done by. It goes further back.

It’s an issue that affects the entire league and football. I am not sure how you would go about changing it, but it certainly need to be looked at.

And, as you mentioned, it can have a significant impact in games. The Everton game was not a one-off; yet, having three major rulings go against them in one game was highly unusual, especially by Forest’s standards.

The club’s indignation was justified given that it was the culmination of numerous such incidents. Brentford, Liverpool, Brighton, Bournemouth, and Tottenham, among others. Many other things have gone against Forest, not just penalty calls, such as red cards awarded or not given, the Ivan Toney free kick, the James Maddison punch, or the Liverpool drop ball. I’m not sure if the diversity of situations improves or worsens the situation, but each one has had a significant impact on each game individually and on the season as a whole.

I still believe that the discussion should not overshadow the fact that Forest must perform if they are to remain in the league. However, Nuno discussed on Sunday how it might affect players in games when so many decisions go against them.

That is natural, but Forest must now flip the script and use their displeasure as a siege mentality. They need to concentrate on what they can manage.

Q: With everything going on on the non-playing side, there’s a serious risk that our attention has shifted.

A: Forest cannot allow this to happen. It is absolutely unavoidable that fans, commentators, and media will continue to talk about off-field issues, but the players must be in a little bit of a bubble – or at least energized by what has occurred.

They are only human, and they must have discussed it, as Nuno stated was the case with the points reduction. However, they cannot allow outside noise to distract them from their duties.

Nuno emphasized that the decisions can have an impact on the players’ psyche in games. That is understandable. But once it is gone, they have to move on.

Forest still has the ability to ensure his own survival, but time is running out. Nuno and the players must focus on performance and outcomes.

Everton’s performance was below par, especially when compared to past seasons. The Fulham game serves as Forest’s pattern and benchmark for success. They’ve showed what they’re capable of under Nuno, but they need to maintain that level consistently.

Manchester City will be really difficult, but all Forest can do is go out there and perform to their full potential. Who knows what happens if they do that? The City Ground has previously hosted some great moments.

Forests have a reason to fight back. If they employ it correctly, an us-versus-the-world mentality could offer them an advantage in the match. Perhaps it can provide some extra motivation.

That being stated, I believe Forest should improve their performance from the Everton game. Not only on Sunday, but in each of the last four games.

Q: Nuno offers nothing and should leave at the end of the season.

A: Forest just need to get to the conclusion of the season, ensure they are still in the Premier League, and then assess where they stand. As of now, we don’t know which division they’ll be in, which will undoubtedly have an impact on a variety of events during the summer.

When Nuno arrived, I thought he made a significant impact in his first few games. Look back at Newcastle’s away win over Manchester United, as well as the Bournemouth encounter.

You could see a shift in the manner of play. Forest was on the front foot and trying to stay upbeat.

He has had a lot to deal with, between AFCON, injuries, the points deduction, and now all that has happened this week. But at the same time, that is what he is compensated for. As a head coach or manager, you are expected to deal with and react to a variety of scenarios.

Forest did experience a decline in performance and results. But against Fulham, and even at Spurs, I thought they were back to their best under Nuno. Sunday was a step back from that.

 

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I still believe this team has potential, but they have not always performed well together. Individual talent has not always translated into achievements and performances.

There are definitely certain things that might be improved. Set components are still one. I thought Forest handled them well against Everton, but it remains a significant weakness.

The final few games will tell us a lot. Nuno must rally this team and demonstrate their potential. We’ll be able to make an informed decision after the season is complete.

Q: I believe we should engage international refs. It’s 2024 now; time to move on. We have foreign players, managers, and owners. There are good referees in European competitions who work in ‘lesser’ domestic leagues, thus everyone benefits from this.

A: That’s an interesting point. I believe enlarging the pool would be advantageous. Clubs hire and recruit the greatest players and managers, so why shouldn’t the game do the same with referees?

I believe that improving the caliber of officiating requires looking at the whole picture from the ground up, such as bringing additional referees through. It is not just a matter of attempting to raise the standard in the Premier League; it is also about refereeing and referee development.

It is also worth considering VAR, as it does have problems. The authorities are not going to back down on VAR now that it is available, so it is a matter of making adjustments to make it function.

I agree with Forest’s remark regarding the need for more transparency. The analogy to rugby is not a direct one, but it is clear how hearing official messages benefits spectators.

A lot of things need to be looked into and problems fixed. The Premier League is so high-profile and watched throughout the world that it must be the finest it can be. Improvement will take time, but ideally we will see changes and constructive criticism, and everyone will profit from it in the long run. And hopefully, Forest will be a part of that in the Premier League.

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