VAR, cricket and complacency - Nuno's Nottingham Forest press conference notes ahead of Burnley

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

Perhaps somewhat fittingly, given he often plays questions with a straight bat, talk of cricket cropped up in Nottingham Forest boss Nuno Espirito Santo’s final pre-match press conference of the season.

It wasn’t because thoughts have already turned to the off-season and the switch to summer sports. Far from it. Nuno would absolutely not entertain such thoughts.

No, the rather unusual turn of conversation was as a result of that other national pastime - debating VAR. More specifically, the news this week that Premier League clubs will vote next month on whether it should be scrapped.

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Given the Reds’ run-ins with referees this season, you might have expected Nuno to be fully in favour of ditching the system. Actually, he was fairly measured in his response.

But when it was put to him that suggestions had been put forward for managers to be allowed some kind of challenge system in games, he was more forthright. “That will be even more complicated, honestly,” he said.

It is successful in cricket, his inquisitor pressed. “Yeah, but sometimes a game of cricket lasts one week,” Nuno quipped. “I have been so many years in England and I watch (cricket), but it’s hard for me to understand.”

He added: “It is a tough one. The moment will come to vote. Personally, I think they should have done it better this season, so we have the hope that it improves. Whether to scrap it or not, I am not sure if it is the best way. What we want is for them to improve.”

When it comes to how Forest can improve, Nuno made the point several times that this was not the moment for such questions. Attempts to quiz the Portuguese on the future and how the team can build were met with a similar response: Burnley, the focus is on Burnley.

The Reds’ Premier League safety is all but secured ahead of their final clash of the season at Turf Moor. It would take something remarkable for Luton Town to overtake them in the table - the Hatters are three points behind and have a -31 goal difference to Forest’s -19. But Nuno is taking nothing for granted.

This week’s preparation has been the same as normal. The Reds will approach Sunday the same way as they have for all of their other games under Nuno. Complacency has not been allowed to creep into the building.

“There is still a game to go,” the Forest head coach stated. “We know how football is, so I think the best approach we can have is that we prepare the same way - with all the details we can and with the same commitment.

“We are clear about everything that can happen. It is up to us. It is in our hands to mathematically achieve what we want.

“Now is the moment to play the last game. After that we start preparing everything. Now is the moment to prepare for the game. We are only focused on the game on Sunday.”

The 50-year-old did afford a glimmer of insight into what needs to be worked on in the summer, though. He made the point that Forest have “competed really well” in every game but have been guilty of throwing results away.

“In all of the situations we have had - draws, different games we have lost - the feeling we had is that we should have done better,” he said. “We didn’t feel that the opponent beat us, we always felt that we shouldn’t have had these games get away from us. By saying that, we always play good football, we always try to go forward.

"We have been punished in some moments, but we have always been a team that wants to attack and to score. That is also part of our identity we want to build.

“But of course we are frustrated. We could have finished better and not been in this position, but so many things have happened. I’m really proud and give credit to the players for the way they have managed themselves.”

Based on his press conference, Nuno will be absolutely desperate to make sure Burnley doesn’t fall into the category of games that “got away”. And then the planning for next season can really start - perhaps after taking in a game of cricket first.

How would you sum up Forest's season? Have your say in the comments below