Chris Sutton rips into Nuno Espirito Santo and 'disappointing' Nottingham Forest

Chris Sutton
Chris Sutton has pulled no punches in his latest assessment of Nottingham Forest and Nuno Espirito Santo (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images) -Credit:Michael Regan/Getty Images

Chris Sutton has slapped Nottingham Forest with a quick reality check ahead of their season finale against Burnley, saying that Nuno Espirito Santo has done no better than predecessor Steve Cooper.

Forest have all-but secured their top-flight status ahead of the final game of the season - a position many in the East Midlands had hoped to be in when nerves were growing with just a handful of fixtures remaining.

It is still mathematically possible to go down, though 18th-placed Luton Town would require a major 12-goal swing in their favour as they beat Fulham at Kenilworth, while Forest fall to already relegated Burnley at Turf Moor.

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"This was supposed to be the big relegation decider, but with Burnley down and Nottingham Forest's goal difference meaning they are as good as safe, there is nothing really riding on it now," Sutton said in his latest BBC Sport predictions.

The striker-turned-pundit offered sympathy for the Clarets as a 'well-run' club suffering relegation under 'bright young manager' Vincent Kompany, but wasn't so kind towards the team that will remain a Premier League outfit.

"Regardless of the points deduction, this will go down as a disappointing season for Forest even though they have stayed up," he swiped, before going in harder on manager Nuno: "It is not as if they have kicked on since Nuno Espirito Santo replaced Steve Cooper as manager in December, is it?"

Ultimately, Nuno has turned around the fortunes of Forest in five months to ensure they remain among England's elite. He took charge with 20 fixtures remaining, winning five, drawing four and losing eleven with a points-per-game average of 0.95.

Before him Cooper's 17 matches yielded a return of only three wins, five draws and nine losses, reaching a points-per-game average of 0.82. Unfortunately for Sutton the numbers do not lie, as based on those averages had Forest stuck instead of twisted back at Christmas, they would find themselves three points worse off now, and most likely level with Luton heading into this weekend.

Granted the club would have hoped to press on from last year's relegation scrap, but in a competitive division it is not a guarantee. Now at least there is a chance to build under a seasoned coach such as Nuno in the years ahead.

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