Friday, February 23, 2024

It changes plan – Nuno Espirito Santo bemoans lack of break as Forest get replay

SoccerNews in FA Cup 7 Jan 2024

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Nottingham Forest boss Nuno Espirito Santo said his side’s winter break plans were in disarray after they were forced to an FA Cup third-round replay by Blackpool at the City Ground.

Forest needed to come from two goals down to earn a 2-2 draw with the League One side, who beat them 4-1 at this stage last season, meaning the tie will be decided at Bloomfield Road in the week commencing January 15.

The Premier League side were not due to play again until January 20 and were set to spend time together at St George’s Park, but plans will now change, as Nuno became the latest top-flight boss to bemoan third-round replays.

“We have to reorganise that,” Nuno said of the bonding trip to Burton. “When we decided that, we looked at what was best for the team. Now what is best for the team is to start preparing for the replay in Blackpool. That is the priority.

“It changes the plan. Now we have to reorganise and we won’t get a break because now the priority is the replay. We have to reorganise our plans.

“It is a reality. Everybody is aware there is a big congestion of games, fixtures are every day. It is something we have to look at.

“If you ask me personally, I think it should be finished on the day, extra time, penalties, and allow the players to have a little bit more time to recover.

“Premier League teams are suffering with that. You know the issues with injuries and one of the things is the amount of fixtures.

“Now the best for team is to start preparing for the replay.”

Forest could consider themselves lucky to get a second chance after conceding two goals in three first-half minutes through Jordan Lawrence-Gabriel and Albie Morgan.

Nicolas Dominguez and Morgan Gibbs-White scored either side of half-time but Forest could not find a winner, condemning them to a trip to the Fylde coast, where they were well beaten last term.

Blackpool boss Neil Critchley suggested Premier League managers who have spoken out against replays, including Liverpool’s Jurgen Klopp and Brentford’s Thomas Frank, should “get on with it” as his side completed their 35th game of the season.

“I can’t go against Jurgen Klopp, he’s the boss!” the former Liverpool academy manager quipped. “But I can’t wait – replay at Bloomfield Road.

“I don’t think they should be scrapped at all. It is so important for football in general. The level now between the Premier League and the rest is getting wider and wider – it is harder to cause an upset.

“It is such an achievement to cause an upset. So if you get a second chance to do it, we’d rip your hand off for that. We are delighted we have got a replay. Yeah it’s a busy schedule, but so what, get on with it.

“This was our 35th game of the season. The Premier League teams haven’t played that. They get international breaks, time off. We don’t. I remember going when there was third games and fourth games – brilliant.

“Get on with it. Look at the resources, the finance, the staffing… we don’t have that. It’s tough, get on with it, let’s play football.”

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