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What to expect from Nuno Espirito Santo at Nottingham Forest

Nottingham Forest have turned to former Wolves and Tottenham manager Nuno Espirito Santo to revive their Premier League fortunes, having sacked Steve Cooper following one victory in their last 13 league games.

bet365 have a number of intriguing markets on the back of ex-Valencia and Porto manager's appointment at the City Ground.

Forest are 2/1 to finish above Nuno's former employers Wolves, 5/2 to be relegated and 33/1 to finish in the top half of the Premier League.

Finishing last season in 16th place on 38 points, the Tricky Trees are priced at 11/4 to better this tally this term.

bet365 are also offering odds on how many points Forest take from their next three Premier League games against Bournemouth, Newcastle and Man Utd:

bet365's Steve Freeth said: "Nuno's failure at Spurs has been well documented, but he did guide Wolves to back-to-back seventh-placed finishes and Forest's ambitious owner may be looking for something similar in the not too distant future.

"The odds suggest Nuno might struggle to hit those heights this season and if he fails to break the 40-point barrier then he could be the latest incumbent in the City Ground dugout to be looking over his shoulder."

We take a look at the Portuguese manager’s career and analyse what he might bring to Forest as he agrees a two-and-a-half-year deal and aims to keep the East Midlands club in the top-flight.

Managerial record

Nuno has taken charge of six clubs since starting his managerial career in 2012

Rio AveMay 15th 2012 - May 19th 201480321731
ValenciaJuly 4th 2014 - November 29th 201562321614
FC PortoJune 1st 2016 - May 22nd 20174927166
WolvesMay 31st 2017 - May 23rd 2021199954955
TottenhamJune 30th 2021 - November 1st 202117827
Al-IttihadJuly 4th 2022 - November 7th 20235636128

Managerial style

Cooper gained a reputation for having strong man-management skills when it came to the individuals in his squad, but the players at the City Ground could notice a big change with Nuno in charge.

For the Portuguese manager, the team as a collective unit is the most important thing. History suggests he is unlikely to take too much time out of his day to lift individual morale.

It is all about players fitting his system in line with his tactical philosophy, so squad members may not feel as loved as they were under the previous regime.

There will be a strong emphasis on physical fitness in training, which could come as a shock to the system for some, while another key element could be his close relationship with agent Jorge Mendes.

That could have an effect on recruitment, particularly if Nuno is looking for quick-fix solutions in the January window.

There has been a lot of transfer activity at the City Ground since the club returned to the Premier League and they could be busy again in the new year.

Tactical approach

Nuno was in his element when he guided Wolves back into the Premier League and then to two seventh-place finishes, playing a counter-attacking style of football which the hierarchy and supporters found difficult to digest during his brief period in charge at Tottenham.

Attacking from wide areas is key in the Portuguese gaffer’s football philosophy, with a back-three system that becomes five when the opposition have possession.

The aim is to make the team difficult to break down and also grind down their opponents with strong physical fitness coming to the fore as games wear on. Nuno will be looking for his team to kick on in the second half of matches.

It might not be pretty, but he showed in his time at Molineux that it can be effective, and that is just what Forest need if they are to keep their fellow top-flight strugglers at bay.

In the final third, the key is to get skilful players to attack full-backs and for the other forwards to make clever runs to drag defenders out of position and cause an imbalance.

All of these things are key elements of his football thinking and the cornerstones of Forest’s bid to avoid relegation.

Forest cannot afford to slip up

Forest were strong at home last season, with Arsenal and Liverpool just two teams who found the Tricky Trees too difficult to live with on the banks of the Trent.

Those results following the club’s promotion back to the top-flight for the first time this century meant Cooper enjoyed an excellent relationship with the supporters and it could take time for Nuno to win many of them over.

Results would help to that end and they need to drag themselves away from the bottom of the table - they are five points clear of third-from-bottom Luton Town, who have a game in hand after their match at Bournemouth last week was abandoned.

Forest have gained just three victories from their 17 league matches this season and a 2-0 success over high-flying Aston Villa has been their only win in their last 13 outings.

Nuno will hope to put that right immediately when they face Bournemouth on Saturday and Forest are 7/4 to win that game.

The Cherries are 31/20 to maintain their good recent form with a victory and the draw is available at 12/5.

Forest are 5/2 to be relegated and 2/7 to stay up and enjoy a third season in the top-flight.

If that is achieved, Nuno will have completed the first aim of his two-and-a-half-year deal.


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