Nuno Espirito Santo achieves ‘main objective’ as Forest win secures survival

Chris Wood scored a brace inside the opening 15 minutes against his former club to eliminate any worries that Luton might have beaten Forest to 17th place – something that would have required an unlikely 12-goal swing even if Forest had lost and the Hatters won at home to Fulham.

Forest can now look forward to another season in the top flight and – hopefully for them – one that will not come with the stress of a points deduction for breaching financial rules which kept them in the relegation scrap until the end.

“We are very happy and proud of the way we finished the season,” Nuno said. “We all know how hard it is, how tough it was for all of us at the football club and it was important to finish on a high, winning and achieving what was the main objective when we arrived, Premier League status.”

The former Wolves and Tottenham manager joined Forest in late December with the club 17th in the Premier League, five points above the bottom three. The Portuguese said keeping Forest up had been the most difficult task he had faced in his career to date.

“It was the first time as a coaching staff we joined a football club in the middle of the season, it was a new experience,” he said. “We embraced the challenged, it was something new.

“But what we didn’t have and what we are getting now was what you normally achieve in the pre-season, the bond. We had to build our relationships through the season while competing, so when you asked me if it was hard it was because we didn’t have the chance to build the bond.

“Now we are starting to see the players trusting us more, trusting each other. Definitely it was the most difficult.”

While Forest fans celebrated in the away end at Turf Moor, Burnley’s players took part in a muted lap of honour after a campaign in which they have won only two league games in front of their own fans.

Josh Cullen’s deflected strike in the 72nd minute created some hope they might snatch a point, but they were unable to make their superior possession pay in a largely disappointing display.

“I think the emotions were there at the start of the game,” Vincent Kompany said. “I felt like we had every intention to win the game and give it everything we’ve got, and we got punished in two moments and you wonder what type of day it’s going to be.

“The team kept pushing and we gave ourselves a chance to be in the game and maybe get a result.”

At the final whistle, Kompany spoke to the full squad and staff in a huddle before they went to acknowledge the fans.

Asked what had been the message, Kompany said: “It’s quite easy. You have a team that has every right to celebrate, celebrating with their own fans on your pitch. We know the feeling of celebrating at Turf Moor and this for us, for next season, has to be the main message.”

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