Exclusive – Nuno Espirito Santo’s quest to avoid Premier League relegation

CONFIDENT Nottingham Forest boss Nuno Espirito Santo has called for his relegation-threatened side to embrace the “pressure” in their quest to avoid Premier League relegation. Nuno Espirito Santo spoke exclusively with Neil Goulding for SportsBoom.com to discuss.

Exclusive – Nuno Espirito Santo’s quest to avoid Premier League relegation
Neil Goulding

Written by: Neil Goulding

(Senior Sports Reporter)

Fact checked by: Louis Hobbs

(Senior Sports Writer)

Last updated: 2024-02-16

4 minutes read

CONFIDENT Nottingham Forest boss Nuno Espirito Santo has called for his relegation-threatened side to embrace the “pressure” in their quest to avoid Premier League relegation. Nuno Espirito Santo spoke exclusively with Neil Goulding for SportsBoom.com to discuss.

The Portuguese coach is without a win in his last four matches in the top flight, ahead of Saturday’s home clash with West Ham at the City Ground. Forest are chasing their first home win since stunning Manchester United 2-1 over a month ago.

Santo admitted: “There’s always pressure to get results. What we’re trying to do is to disassociate with the table and focus on the job at hand. The table isn’t what guides us.

“We don’t have to win because of where we are in the table. You always get to produce results and win games. That’s the best way. You can’t let the table pressure you. The pressure is from the games themselves and the need to improve as a team.

“I don’t think it’s hard to stop the players looking at the table. There’s so much noise going around all the clubs, and us particularly. We have to ignore the noise and focus on our task.”
 

A perfect addition

The former Tottenham and Wolves manager Nuno believes he has a perfect addition in new signing Matz Sels.

Nuno swooped to sign 31-year-old Belgium international Sels before the January transfer window slammed shut, having also made enquiries about signing former Manchester United keeper David de Gea and Arsenal shot-stopper Aaron Ramsdale to strengthen his side for the final run-in. 

“He’s [Matz] a good, experienced goalkeeper,” added Nuno. “He was playing regularly for his club, so it made sense to sign him and give us another option among our goalkeepers.”

“It’s not about choices and whether he was first choice or not. Matz is here because he’s a good goalkeeper. He’s been here [in England] before. A thousand names came out for goalkeepers that we were linked with and a lot of them were not true.

“He’s a complete goalkeeper. At this stage of his career, he’s completed all of the technical aspects, in terms of distribution and a shot-stopper. He has everything to become what we need from a goalkeeper.

“What we need from a goalkeeper is to give us confidence. This is what we expect for him to become a good option for us.”
 

At the managerial helm

Nuno is also convinced he has another quality in his squad – particularly attacking options – to make sure the club avoid the ‘dreaded’ drop.

“I think we are more balanced,” stressed the 50-year-old. “We have more options in attack. It’s important for us to keep them fit.

“Something that’s really causing us problems is injuries, and that means that we suffer as a result. We have quality, we are more balanced, and we want to go out and play good football. This is what we are trying to do to the end.”

Forest’s away record this season has been poor – having won just TWICE on the road in the league this season.

And Nuno admitted: “We’re trying to improve our away record. We approach the games the same. Our focus for the games is the same, no matter where it is.”

“We need to focus on what’s happening on the pitch. We’ve been able to have good performances away from home. The intention is to keep repeating that and to come away with results.”

Nuno replaced former boss Steve Cooper at the managerial helm on 20 December. He has been brought in by the club’s owner – Greek businessman Evangelos Marinakis – to make sure the club avoid slipping into the second tier.

“It’s a good relationship. He was here for a couple of days and we had important conversations and analysed the situation,” revealed Nuno.

“It was good because we could look at what was ahead of us so we could work it out and make it better.”
 

Neil Goulding

Neil Goulding

Neil has been a journalist for longer than he'd care to remember, having written for national newspapers and respected publications for over 25 years. For the last three years he has worked freelance for BBC Sport, working on the production desk as a sub-editor and also as a writer, covering a whole range of sports.

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