Forest boss Nuno says referees over-reliant on VAR

Nuno Espirito Santo's <a class="link " href="" data-i13n="sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link" data-ylk="slk:Nottingham Forest;sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link;itc:0">Nottingham Forest</a> are battling for Premier League survival (HENRY NICHOLLS)
Nuno Espirito Santo's Nottingham Forest are battling for Premier League survival (HENRY NICHOLLS)

Nottingham Forest boss Nuno Espirito Santo wants referees to be braver in their decision-making rather than rely on VAR after the club found themselves at the centre of a row over officiating.

Relegation-threatened Forest were furious not to be awarded three penalties during last weekend's 2-0 Premier League loss at Everton.

The club described the decisions as "extremely poor" and said that VAR official Stuart Attwell was a fan of Luton, who are also battling to avoid the drop.

Forest, who host title-chasing Manchester City on Sunday, now face Premier League and Football Association charges.

Nuno believes referees are shirking tough decisions because they have back-up from VAR.

"The general feeling in football is referees are not taking their own decisions so this is affecting a lot," he said on Friday.

"They are not taking their decisions and waiting for the VAR to intervene is not helping the situation.

"Referees are the authority on the pitch and then VAR should help. What we want is to move forward."

Claiming poor officiating has had a big influence on both Forest and other teams this season, Nuno added: "We cannot ignore it, things have been bad.

"They should feel responsible for it because there have been a lot of mistakes, not only in our games. You can see things are not well. What we ask for is improvement."

Forest, docked four points in March following a breach of Premier League financial rules, are just one point above third bottom Luton with four matches remaining.

But Nuno insisted Forest were not targeting Attwell personally.

"We don't want things to go much further and it becomes personal or abusive to the referees," he said. "Try to understand us and put yourself in our skin.

"We don't want things to go much further, we want to keep things on the game and on the issues we can control. But it's so many things.

"We have had a lot of different VARs making the same mistakes, so it's not personal.

"Nothing personal, doesn't have to do with him. It's the process."

Responding to Forest's recent outbursts, Premier League chief executive Richard Masters defended top-flight referees on Friday and said his organisation are looking at ways to "upgrade" VAR.

"We were disappointed that statements were made about potentially implicating referees and the reasons why they might have made decisions," Masters said at the European Leagues general assembly in London.

"Generally speaking I would say a few words in support of English referees. I think they do a very good job. We know the VAR system needs to improve.

"Part of that is getting the rules to be upgraded so there's more space to communicate with fans. We want to improve the situation for fans."