Nuno says poor decisions are affecting Forest relegation fight

Nuno Espirito Santo, Manager of Nottingham Forest, applauds the fans after the team's defeat in the Premier League match between Brighton & Hove Albion and Nottingham Forest at the American Express Community Stadium on March 10, 2024 in Brighton, England.

Nuno Espirito Santo has warned that referees have to “improve fast” after launching another withering attack on the standard of officiating.

The Nottingham Forest head coach insists the current crop of top-flight officials are too inexperienced and that poor decisions are impacting his squad’s relegation battle.

Forest have suffered a number of controversial calls this season and have already written three letters of complaint to the Professional Game Match Officials Ltd (PGMOL), the body that organises referees and Var in the Premier League and Football League.

Last weekend Nuno was further infuriated by the decision not to dismiss Brighton midfielder Jakub Moder for a ‘studs-up’ challenge on Neco Williams.

Referee Michael Salisbury chose to only give Jakub Moder a yellow card for a reckless challenge on Neco Williams

Referee Michael Salisbury chose to only give Jakub Moder a yellow card for a reckless challenge on Neco Williams

‌In their previous game at home to Liverpool, Forest were aggrieved after referee Paul Tierney incorrectly gave the ball to the away team after a stoppage in play.

‌Ahead of Saturday’s crucial showdown with Luton Town, Nuno believes refereeing standards have dropped significantly since his arrival in England seven years ago.

‌“If I have to be honest – before was better,” he said. “[Before] we had a very strong group of referees who were very experienced – then a new generation has come, they need time, but we don’t have time.

‌“We can’t ignore that this kind of mistake can have big repercussions on everybody’s life.

‌“What we expect is help in the proper way: proper help for a referee who is in charge of his fifth or sixth game in the Premier League.

‌“When I have a problem with my team I work harder. I invest more of my time. My only way of improving is to work harder and give it more.

‌“If I work 20 hours, I’m going to work 24 hours, so we expect them to improve – and improve fast.”

‌Nuno has admitted that his views are shared by former Premier League official Mark Clattenburg, who has been appointed as a referees’ analyst by Forest.

‌Clattenburg was taken on board by club owner Evangelos Marinakis in a move to build bridges with the PGMOL and better understanding of the laws.

‌Nuno said: “We don’t want to create any pressure on the referees, we don’t want to get benefits, we just expect them to be fair and judge what they see.

‌“We just want things to be like before and for things to improve. What we expect from the referee is that there are things we don’t even speak about, this is when things are perfect.”

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