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Nottingham Forest have taken ‘big step’ after goalless FA Cup stalemate – Nuno

Nuno Espirito Santo believes his Nottingham Forest side have taken a “big step” with the first clean sheet of his managerial reign there (Martin Rickett/PA)
Nuno Espirito Santo believes his Nottingham Forest side have taken a “big step” with the first clean sheet of his managerial reign there (Martin Rickett/PA)

Nuno Espirito Santo believes Nottingham Forest have taken a “big step” after a goalless FA Cup draw at Bristol City produced the first clean sheet of his City Ground reign.

Forest must fit a fourth-round replay into their busy schedule after drawing 0-0 with the mid-table Sky Bet Championship side at Ashton Gate.

But boss Nuno focused on the positives after a first clean sheet in his seven games at Forest, saying: “It was a good performance with two different parts.

“The first half was not so good, the second half much better. First half we did not control our pressure, we allowed too many balls inside and they created some problems for us.

“Second half we controlled the game, we dominated and did not allow chances.

“So that’s a big step for us to have a clean sheet. Something we are constantly looking for.

“We created chances in the second half but could not finish. So let’s now go for the second leg because Bristol City is a good team.”

Forest return to Premier League action at home to Arsenal on Tuesday, in 16th place and just four points above the relegation zone.

In what had been a hectic start since replacing Steve Cooper last month, Nuno had seen his Forest side score 14 goals and concede 11 in six games.

“This will definitely help us,” said the Portuguese. “Since we arrived we have not been able to keep a clean sheet.

“Conceding goals is something that has caused too many problems for us. Every game we score two or three goals, but we are conceding too much.

“I told the boys this is our first objective in the game, defend well and keep clean sheets because we have quality and talent to solve the game.

“As a team we must always look to defend well, be compact and not allow chances.”

Bristol City had beaten West Ham in a third-round replay and Ashton Gate was packed to the rafters again in the hope of witnessing another upset.

Forest had the only two attempts on target but there was no lack of endeavour from the Robins – who are 13th in the Championship – and they did cause moments of danger.

City head coach Liam Manning said: “The lads are actually quite frustrated in the changing room, a little bit disappointed.

“I get that and I quite like that, because the intensity, the competitiveness and the bravery we showed – especially in the first half – I thought was excellent.

“We missed a bit of composure around the box, that bit of conviction and cool head you need.

“But it’s another experience ticked off with a lot of positives.

“We’ve got another game now, but it’s a great opportunity and great experience to go up there and test ourselves again.”