Nottingham Forest VAR fury had been a long time coming after lengthy list of grievances

Nottingham Forest's Callum Hudson-Odoi appeals for a penalty against Everton
Nottingham Forest's Callum Hudson-Odoi appeals for a penalty against Everton -Credit:PA

Within a matter of minutes of the final whistle, Nottingham Forest had made their feelings clear. Very clear, in fact.

Words were not minced. It was a lay it on the line, no holds barred statement.

The tweet from the club’s official account immediately after Sunday’s 2-0 defeat at Everton seemed to divide opinion among fans. Some questioned whether the Reds’ fury was being expressed in the best way, but few would disagree with the basic sentiment behind it.

READ MORE: What Nuno said on Forest's angry statement and penalty appeals

READ MORE: Nuno addresses Forest's Stuart Attwell complaint amid Everton fury

Even by the standards of officiating Forest have been on the end of this season, to have three big decisions go against them in just one game was quite something. That the incidents only add to an already lengthy list of controversial calls, explains why the club were particularly incensed on this occasion.

The Reds are certainly not alone in their grievances over refereeing and VAR. In amongst the replies to their tweet were some from supporters of other clubs applauding the move.

The straw that broke the camel's back came some time ago for Forest. It is why they brought in Mark Clattenburg, having already gone down the route of writing letters of complaint to the Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL) to little avail.

Head coach Nuno Espirito Santo has also spoken out on the matter several times. The Portuguese was actually relatively measured in response to questions about the three penalty claims in his post-match press conference on Sunday. By that point, the club had already made their stand.

Post-match fury

Bournemouth, Brentford, Liverpool, Brighton. Forest have been left with a burning sense of injustice many times this season - and those are just the standout ones since Nuno has been in charge.

Coach Steven Reid made the point in his outburst after the drop-ball fiasco against Liverpool that “it’s the same every week”. His X-rated rant at the City Ground that day landed him in hot water, but also saw him hailed by many Reds fans who wholeheartedly concurred.

BBC Radio Nottingham put the 'c' word of conspiracy to Nuno after the latest controversy. "If we were in another country, for sure that will come up," was the Portuguese’s response.

In their post-match tweet, the club said: "Three extremely poor decisions - three penalties not given - which we simply cannot accept. We warned the PGMOL that the VAR is a Luton fan before the game but they didn’t change him. Our patience has been tested multiple times. NFFC will now consider its options."

Stuart Attwell was the VAR at Goodison Park. Nuno added: “I am aware of the complaint; of the formal complaint of the club that (they) were not comfortable with the VAR. PGMOL decide the other way."

If Forest did raise their concern beforehand and the PGMOL stuck with their choice, then this was arguably a talking point waiting to happen. And also, quite possibly, an avoidable situation.

However, Nuno was clear that it was “not important if he (Attwell) is a fan of another club or not”. The real question concerned why none of the penalty claims were given. “I would just like to understand why; why we have always been on the end of bad decisions,” he added.

Penalty shouts

As for the spot-kick claims themselves, Nuno was in no doubt all three should have been awarded. "I saw the images," he said.

The first was a kick on Gio Reyna by Ashley Young, when the scoreline was still 0-0. The second was a Young handball from a Callum Hudson-Odoi cross, and the third was Young again, on Hudson-Odoi - both of which occurred at 1-0.

You could argue a strong case for all three incidents, but that referee Anthony Taylor was not instructed to go to his monitor for the third one was particularly baffling. Young did not get the ball.

Forest’s outrage is entirely understandable, particularly given the wider context of their referee run-ins. Nuno admitted consistently being on the wrong end of such decisions has an effect on the players.

“It is ridiculous, and it is week after week now we are getting these decisions against us,” Neco Williams told Sky Sports. “I am not here to make excuses, I am not that type of person. But every week it is something.”

Away from the controversy…

Even without any help from the officials, the Reds could have got something from their trip to Merseyside. They had a couple of big chances.

Chris Wood drew a fine save from Jordan Pickford soon after the hosts had opened the scoring. And Morgan Gibbs-White blazed wide in the second half when he would no doubt have expected to do better.

“It’s not (just the decisions). We are talking about it (the decisions), but the game, we should blame ourselves of course,” Nuno said. “We had clear chances and should have done better.

“I look at the game, then I look at the referee. It is part of the same thing. But we are to blame also - not taking the good chances and not finishing well.”

The visitors were not at their best at Goodison Park. They did limit Everton to few clearcut opportunities, while the goals were strikes from outside the box. But for the most part, Forest did not show the kind of intensity and urgency they are capable of under Nuno. That needs to change in their four remaining games.

Away day woe

Prior to the weekend, Nuno had outlined how the uncertainty around the club’s points deduction for breaching financial rules was having a detrimental effect on his players. He reiterated the point post-match.

The Reds' hearing into their appeal against their four-point deduction will take place on Wednesday. Nuno said he hoped for clarity as soon as possible and to be able to play the final four games knowing exactly where his team stand in the table. However, it is not known when a final decision will come. And with Manchester City up next, Forest need to gather themselves.

Their poor form on the road has continued. It is something they need to find a solution for, given their final away games are at Sheffield United and Burnley.

The headlines this week will, of course, be dominated by the club's post-match tweet. By Monday morning it had already garnered close to 40 million views.

Perhaps trying to back-up the point without risking getting into any trouble, Moussa Niakhate posted: “No one is going to stop us from reaching our goal.” Holding on to that mentality will be key. And as it stands, reaching that goal remains in Forest’s own hands.

What did you make of Forest's statement? Have your say in the comments below