FFP appeal, Cole Palmer and City Ground send off – inside Nuno’s Nottingham Forest press conference

Nottingham Forest head coach Nuno Espirito Santo
Nottingham Forest head coach Nuno Espirito Santo -Credit:Getty

Inevitably, the first question Nuno Espirito Santo faced in his pre-match press conference ahead of Nottingham Forest’s final home game of the season was on a familiar topic.

Points deductions, appeals and Profitability and Sustainability Rules have been regular features of Nuno’s meetings with the media. The Portuguese will hope that will not be the case any longer.

The outcome of the Reds’ appeal against their four-point deduction means a line can be drawn underneath the saga. Nuno expressed his disappointment over the original punishment being upheld but made it clear the squad have already moved on.

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Forest have a big weekend ahead of them. Getting some points back would have helped their survival mission, but they have the opportunity to get over the line on the pitch.

Ahead of Saturday’s 5.30pm clash with Chelsea, the Reds are three points clear of the relegation zone with two games to go. Rivals Luton Town and Burnley - three and five points below them respectively - both kick off at 3pm that day.

By the time they run out at the City Ground, Forest will have a clearer picture of the situation at the bottom. If the Hatters fail to beat West Ham United in the capital, Nuno’s men would secure safety with victory over the Blues. Even a draw would effectively guarantee another campaign in the top-flight if Luton and the Clarets (away to Tottenham Hotspur) fail to win, thanks to the Reds’ superior goal difference.

“(The message is) that we don’t have to get distracted about what is happening in other stadiums,” Nuno said. “We have to focus on ourselves, this is the main message that is being said. This is what we want, let’s just focus on ourselves and play a good game.

“Today, we prepared for the game here at the City Ground. We are ready to go.”

Nuno was in fairly relaxed mood in the press conference room at the City Ground. No sign of nerves or of feeling the pressure. As is his custom, he shook hands beforehand with all of his inquisitors.

He was keen to stress the important role the fans can play on Saturday. It could be another one of those special occasions Trentside. Will it be a repeat of Arsenal last term, when Forest beat the drop with a game to spare by triumphing at home?

“It is our last game at home, it is important for our main goal and for our fans that we finish in a nice way at the City Ground because they have been so helpful,” Nuno said. “Their support is so important for us. Now is the moment to try to give back all that they have given to us.

“The support to the team is more important than anything, and they have always been there at home and away from home. It has been huge. We cannot thank them enough.”

Nuno acknowledged that Chelsea will be a “tough opponent”. They have fallen to just one defeat in their last 12 league games.

He identified Cole Palmer as being one of the danger men. He has been in red-hot goal-scoring form this term.

“They are a very tough opponent, full of quality,” the 50-year-old said. “Everyone can see what Mauricio (Pochettino) is trying to do. It’s a new team, new players, he is trying to put them together and for them to gel. They are definitely in a good moment. It will require a lot from us, determination and commitment to win individual duels and try to win the game.”

Forest, though, go into the fixture buoyed by last weekend’s 3-1 success at Sheffield United. And Nuno said with a smile: “I always have a good feeling. A good feeling and a good spirit is what keeps you going.”

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