Former Al Ittihad manager Nuno Espirito Santo appointed as Nottingham Forest head coach

Portuguese returns to Premier League with two-and-a-half-year deal at City Ground

Nuno Espirito Santo has been appointed as Nottingham Forest’s new manager and will be in charge for Saturday's game against Bournemouth. PA
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Former Al Ittihad manager Nuno Espirito Santo has been appointed as the new head coach of Nottingham Forest.

The Portuguese has been handed a two-and-a-half-year contract at the City Ground in the wake Tuesday’s sacking of Steve Cooper.

Forest say Nuno will take charge of his first training session on Wednesday morning and will be in charge for Saturday’s home Premier League game against Bournemouth.

The 49-year-old returns to English football after a two-year absence. He managed Wolverhampton Wanderers between 2017 and 2021 before an ill-fated four-month tenure at Tottenham Hotspur.

Nuno says that Forest owner Evangelos Marinakis has not put any expectations on him, adding that he wants to be the man to take the club to the next level.

“We didn’t mark ourselves to expectations. That’s a day-to-day process,” Nuno said of his conversation with Marinakis.

“What he told me was that what Steve did here is huge. Getting Forest back in the Premier League is fantastic work. We are trying to improve his legacy, which is amazing.

“What Steve did here at Forest is amazing – getting Forest back in the Premier League and keeping Forest in the Premier League.

“It’s normal [to have that popularity] and it shows how good Forest fans are with the respect they showed Steve even when things weren’t going well. That says a lot about our fans.”

He said he has no regrets about his time at Spurs and has learnt from his time in north London and from his spell at Wolves.

“No, no regrets, it happened,” he said. “It was a pleasure to be at Spurs. Things didn’t go well so we move forwards. But no regrets.

“We learn everything, ourselves everything, you learn everything every day. Different situations.

“What we did in Wolves is totally different to what happened at Tottenham. In Saudi Arabia it was a new experience for me, new learning process for me, new culture, so we are always learning.

“I think we have to prove ourselves every day, as players, as coaches, everybody, it is a constant pressure to prove.

“What I expect is to help, try to transmit my knowledge and work ethic.”

During his 16-month stay in Jeddah, Nuno last season led Al Ittihad to their first Saudi Pro League title for 14 years.

He has been out of work since leaving the club in November following a poor run of results. A shock 2-0 defeat to Iraq's Air Force Club in the AFC Champions League proved to be his last game in charge. Ittihad had won only six of their 12 league games and were sixth in the table, trailing leaders Al Hilal by 11 points.

The Saudi champions and hosts were knocked out of the Club World Cup when they were beaten 3-1 by Egyptian side Al Ahly in Jeddah last week.

Nuno takes over at Forest with the club five points above the relegation zone after a run of one win in 13 Premier League matches.

Updated: December 20, 2023, 4:27 PM