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Nuno Espirito Santo wants Nottingham Forest to build on draw with Crystal Palace

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 30 Mar 2024

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Nuno Espirito Santo has told his Nottingham Forest players they must keep building after the 1-1 draw with Crystal Palace moved them out of the relegation zone.

Chris Wood’s 61st-minute equaliser cancelled out Jean-Philippe Mateta’s early goal for Palace and saw Forest move level with Luton on goal difference.

It was Forest’s first match since the Premier League docked them four points for breaching financial rules, plunging them into the bottom three.

Forest were flat for much of the first half but Palace failed to build on Mateta’s early strike, much to the frustration of Oliver Glasner, and in the final 20 minutes both sides had chances to win it.

“I think we did enough in the game to achieve another result but the game was not easy and it started bad for us,” Nuno said.

“When you have the expectations of ‘let’s go’ and you concede first, the team shakes and it was not what we wanted.

“But, overall, I think we were dominant and were in control. We had good moments. We produced a better second half – more pace and we were more aggressive.

“It is not easy to play against Crystal Palace because of the shape they have – the spaces, the gaps and the pockets are not there.

“Once again the team showed character. We are out of the relegation zone and we want to capitalise on this for the next one because we definitely need to climb up the table.”

Forest have launched an appeal against their punishment and before the game fans in the Trent End unveiled a banner which read ‘We shall fight and we shall overcome’.

But tension grew in the stands after Forest fell behind and it was not until the second half that the home side found their rhythm.

“It is very tight,” Nuno said of the relegation fight. “There are some teams still involved in that fight. We have to focus on ourselves.

“This point is good as long as we do something against Fulham (at home on Tuesday) and it’s going to be tough.”

Palace had looked ready to capitalise on Forest’s predicament as Mateta scored with their first real opportunity and Eberechi Eze had opportunities to add to the lead before the break.

They also hit a post in the 87th minute when Eze’s corner deflected off Neco Williams but they could not secure three points that would have all-but assured them of safety.

“It feels like two lost points,” Glasner said. “We had enough chances and we created them brilliantly in different situations, compliments to my staff, the set=pieces were brilliant and always dangerous.

“In some phases of the game we were under pressure and they have the quality to score a goal.

“We know Wood is a fantastic player in the box and in this situation we did not get enough pressure on the ball and we had some phases where we were not confident enough on the ball.

“The first (thing) is always to create chances. It’s not too easy here…they’re very good at home and creating so many chances gives me a lot of confidence for the next weeks and the players did fight until the end of the game.

“At the end what counts is the result. We have to accept it and respect it and I was told a point away from home in the Premier League is good so we have to accept it.”

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