Nuno makes clear VAR point in angry rant after Nottingham Forest refereeing storm

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

Nottingham Forest head coach Nuno Espirito Santo wants referees to take more responsibility for their decisions on the pitch, rather than relying on VAR.

The Portuguese launched into an angry rant about the state of officiating in the Premier League in his pre-match press conference ahead of Sunday’s clash with Manchester City. It came on the back of the Reds’ controversial 2-0 defeat at Everton last weekend, when the visitors felt they should have been awarded three penalties.

Referee Anthony Taylor waved away Forest’s appeals over challenges by Ashley Young on Gio Reyna and Callum Hudson-Odoi, along with a handball shout against the Toffees defender. The official was not instructed to go to his monitor to review the incidents by VAR Stuart Attwell.

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Forest were left incensed and posted an angry tweet at full-time saying they had “warned” the Professional Game Match Officials Board that Attwell “is a Luton fan” prior to the game but “they didn’t change him”. Ahead of this weekend’s clash, Nuno says the use of VAR is “a mess”

Asked if the game would be better without VAR, he said: “It’s a question I ask myself many times. When it came, I supported it. But maybe, one day not much ahead of us, we will say football was better before VAR, because it’s been a mess.

“My personal feeling is about referees not taking decisions on the pitch. They were doing it before so they should do it again, and then comes VAR - not the other way around. The other way around is a huge mistake for the game.

“I can speak and tell my opinion and try to be honest. The general feeling in football is referees are not taking their own decisions so this is affecting a lot. They are not taking their decisions, and waiting for the VAR to intervene is not helping the situation. Referees are the authority on the pitch and then VAR should help. What we want is to move forward.

“If nobody asked who is refereeing this match before it’s a sign things went well. It’s what we wish for, that nobody speaks about referees, they speak about the game.

“We cannot ignore it, things have been bad, they should feel responsible for it because there have been a lot of mistakes, not only in our games. You can see things are not well. What we ask for is improvement.”

Nuno stressed, however, that any criticism of referees and officials should not be personal. Attwell has been in the spotlight after last weekend, but the Reds boss feels a general improvement in standards is required.

“We don’t want things to go much further and it becomes personal or abusive to the referees,” he added. “Try to understand us and put yourself in our skin. We don’t want things to go much further, we want to keep things on the game and on the issues we can control. But it’s so many things. It’s not just the recent games. It goes on and on and on and on. That’s why we feel so much anger.

“We are responsible for our own mistakes but there have been mistakes which are not us. I understand the frustration we are feeling and that’s why I respect the players so much. Let’s focus on City and focus on the games ahead and hope for the best with the refereeing.”

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