Nuno adamant Tottenham's Maddison deserved red for Yates 'punch'

AFP , Monday 8 Apr 2024

Nottingham Forest manager Nuno Espirito Santo rued a controversial decision that went against his side during a 3-1 loss away to Tottenham after James Maddison was allowed to stay on the field.

Nottingham Forest s Portuguese manager Nuno Espirito Santo looks on during the English Premier League football match between Tottenham Hotspur and Nottingham Forest at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London. Photo: AFP

Spurs playmaker Maddison was involved in an off-the-ball incident with Ryan Yates in the 44th minute, which ended with the Forest captain on the turf.

Yates called on referee Simon Hooper to review the incident and replays showed Maddison did catch the Forest midfielder in the stomach, but VAR decided against taking any action with the match in the balance at 1-1.

"It doesn't look like he punched him, he punched him," said Nuno after a loss that left Forest above the relegation zone on goal difference alone.

"I saw the image and that is why I speak to you. I was surprised that VAR didn't tell Simon to review it better because honestly with all my respects, Maddison loses his composure and it is a punch in the stomach of Yates.

"It should have been reviewed and a different decision. It is not a shirt (pull) with players that looks like nothing happens, no. No, it's without the ball.

"So, there are two moments we mention (Chris Wood's miss) in the first half that can change the game.

"I didn't ask (Hooper), but I saw it. There is no problem in telling I didn't see it the same way. We didn't agree, me and VAR."

Sunday's match was the first time Nuno had been back to Tottenham, now fourth in the Premier League table, since he was sacked by the club after only 17 games in charge back in 2021.

"It was a pleasure to work here at Spurs," he said. "It was an honour. Things didn't work out and didn't finish well. I keep going, Spurs keep on going."

The Portuguese added: "It was special to come here. It is always special to come to a place where you worked, but it doesn't take away the focus. My focus is on Forest and we have to do much better next week because we are in a tough fight."

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