Nottingham Forest

Nottingham Forest

Premier League • England

‘This worries me’ – Two major Nuno Espirito Santo concerns emerge as former Nott’m Forest star analyses appointment

New Nottingham Forest manager Nuno Espirito Santo

New Nottingham Forest manager Nuno Espirito Santo

Former Nottingham Forest striker Stan Collymore has given his verdict on the appointment of Nuno Espirito Santo, with the Portuguese replacing Steve Cooper at the City Ground on Wednesday.

Cooper became a hero among the Forest faithful, taking over when the team was sat bottom in the Championship in September 2021 but incredibly managing to guide them to promotion that season via the play-offs. Cooper played a pivotal role in helping end the club’s long wait for Premier League football.

Forest owner Evangelos Marinakis left everyone stunned when he sanctioned over 20 new signings in the summer of 2022, as the East Midlands outfit prepared for their top-flight return. It took Cooper a while to get the new squad to gel, but he eventually got them firing and they went on to finish in 16th place, despite being heavily tipped for relegation early in the season.

However, the Welshman has failed to help Forest build on that finish, as they have lost six of their last eight games and slid down the table. They are now in 17th spot, and 18th-placed Luton Town can cut the gap to just two points if they win their game in hand.

Marinakis is deeply concerned about his team getting relegated and therefore opted to sack Cooper on Tuesday, despite being well aware of the fan uproar this would cause.

And the next day, it was announced that Nuno would replace Cooper in the role. The former Tottenham Hotspur and Wolverhampton Wanderers boss, who was most recently in charge of Saudi club Al Ittihad, has penned a deal lasting until June 2026 with Forest.

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Nuno has a mixed record, having done brilliantly at Wolves by helping them gain promotion to the Prem and then finish seventh two seasons on the bounce. But he then flopped at Spurs, lasting just 17 games, before landing at Al Ittihad. He won the Saudi league title and Saudi super cup during his time in the Middle East but was then axed as results and performances dropped off.

Collymore, who scored 22 goals in 37 games while playing for Forest in the 1990s, has now weighed in on Nuno’s arrival at the club. He is worried that Nuno lacks the ambition needed to succeed at the top level, having headed off to Saudi Arabia for a big pay day after struggling at Spurs.

Nuno Espirito Santo has shown a lack of ambition – pundit

And Collymore is also concerned about Nuno’s rather conservative style of play, which Forest fans will have to get used to.

‘My concerns lie with the fact that he went to Saudi Arabia,’ the pundit wrote in his column for CaughtOffside. ‘Does he have the belief that he can manage at the top table? I know people will say ‘he just went out there for a couple of years waiting for a Premier League or La Liga club’, but I think it is just a payday.

‘There are no managers at the top of their game that would even consider a move to Saudi Arabia, not one.

‘This worries me about Nuno. At his best during the two middle seasons with Wolves, they were a very good counter-attacking team with a lot of pace. I think Forest have the personnel to do that and he could dig out results.

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‘Will he have his team playing with the ball on the deck as Cooper had, with a direct lineage to Brian Clough? I don’t think so and I would be fascinated in a year to see how the Forest fans respond to his style of play. However, if Nuno keeps Forest in the Premier League this season, it is job done.’

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