'The club are raging' - National media make same Nottingham Forest point after Everton loss and statement

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - APRIL 21: Mark Clattenburg,  refereeing consultant for Nottingham Forest looks on as Everton score  during the Premier League match between Everton FC and Nottingham Forest at Goodison Park on April 21, 2024 in Liverpool, England.(Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images)

Everton earned a huge three points in their effort to avoid relegation from the Premier League on Sunday, beating Nottingham Forest 2-0 at Goodison Park.

Goals from Idrissa Gueye and Dwight McNeil either side of the break were enough for the Blues to get the job done. It means Everton are five points clear of 18th-placed Luton Town with a game in hand.

The match was marred by controversy, though. Forest felt aggrieved at not getting three penalties in the game and released a remarkable statement after the match finished, claiming that the VAR was "a Luton fan."

READ MORE: Sean Dyche responds to Nottingham Forest refereeing complaints in Everton win

READ MORE: Dwight McNeil sends Everton relegation warning despite Nottingham Forest win

Naturally, there have been a number of major of talking points in the aftermath. Here is a look at what the national media, as well as our own Joe Thomas, had to say about the events at Goodison Park.

Will Unwin, The Guardian

Everton and Forest are brothers-in-arms, as they fight points deductions after breaching profitability and sustainability rules. That has exacerbated their positions, the Toffees are eight points worse off than their on-pitch performance suggests, while Forest have been docked four points – enough to put them in serious danger of relegation, making them frantic about every decision that goes against them, resulting in a tweet complaining about the VAR, Stuart Attwell, being a Luton fan, and asking for him to be withdrawn from the match beforehand.

Starting the day in 16th and 17th emphasised the importance of the occasion for two teams who had won three league games between them in 2024. Within 10 minutes there was frustration inside Goodison Park as the fans did not feel the players were lumping the ball into the box quickly enough. There is a sense the supporters are suffering from Stockholm Syndrome, with Dyche their kidnapper. Every misplaced cross or pass was derided in the stands as tension grew, even if the Everton legal team might have a bigger say than Andre Gomes’s right boot after three awful early set-pieces.

Dyche’s methods do have merits. Vitalii Mykolenko’s cross was headed out by Murillo to Gueye 25 yards from goal, allowing the Everton midfielder to take a touch and aim for the bottom corner via the post. It did not look like there was sufficient power in the shot but it defeated Matz Sels to his right. The groans were replaced with cheers and Everton fans were starting to look up rather than down.

With five games to go, and a fixture list including Brentford, Luton and Sheffield United, not to mention the deduction appeal, Everton look close to safety. Forest’s appeal might be more telling, especially with a match fewer to play and a point separating them from Luton in the final relegation spot. They will need to improve on the pitch to maintain their status without the help of lawyers or social media posts.

Richard Jolly, The Independent

Everton like a points-deduction derby. Stripped of eight points this season, they have regained six of them at the expense of Nottingham Forest, the other team with an asterisk in the table. Failing Financial Fair Play may prove less damaging for Forest than an inability to take anything from Everton. In a world of revised tables, having lost four points themselves, Forest find themselves out of the drop zone by a lone point. Everton have taken 38 for the season, the normal marker for safety, and find themselves on 30.

It feels almost enough; perhaps, in a campaign interrupted and altered by the deliberations of various independent commissions, Everton may be spared a fraught last game at Goodison Park, the sense their fate rests on 90 minutes. The nervous end to the campaign could be on the banks of the Trent, not the Mersey.

Mathematically, it is not over yet. But Everton are five points clear of the relegation zone, when the three teams immediately beneath them have only four games to go, with perhaps just the need to avoid defeat at Luton on 3 May. Arguably the most torrid season in their history may end with a 71st consecutive campaign of top-flight football secured.

To a backdrop of enduring uncertainty amid Premier League charges, hard-earned points disappearing and the drawn-out takeover that remains in doubt, with a lack of funds at a club that can look drowning in debt, it would represent a job accomplished in the hardest of circumstances by Sean Dyche. His football is attritional but Dyche can seek validation from the standings, and the reality is that Everton only took 36 points in the whole of last season, 38 in the previous campaign. Now they have earned 38 on the field with five games to go.

John Percy, The Telegraph

The narrative will be that Forest are mad and the statement is OTT… but the club are raging and this has happened way too many times. Forget the corruption angle, it’s just total incompetence and obviously not just for Forest this season. PGMOL have to get a handle on this.

Daniel Taylor, The Athletic

For what it's worth, I spoke to PGMOL *on Friday* to ask whether Attwell's appointment might be a problem for Forest, especially given their previous VAR/refereeing issues this season.

The response from PGMOL was pretty emphatic: that Mark Clattenburg had a) told Howard Webb he didn’t have a problem with Attwell (a Luton fan) being VAR b) merely flagged up that it might be raised at Nuno's Friday press conference (it wasn’t).

I was surprised, as I knew Clattenburg had been in touch and that it would be a ‘thing’ if it was Olympiacos.

So anyway, something doesn't quite add up. Clattenburg has told Forest's owners his call to Howard Webb on Friday morning was to make a complaint about Attwell. And they believe him. PGMOL, meanwhile, maintain it was nothing of the sort.

I guess we'll find out one way or another when NFFC get the (inevitable) FA charge. PGMOL not commenting on the record and Clattenburg, unlike previous games, didn't talk to media post-match (bar tomorrow's Daily Mail column). Either way, another chaotic day in a chaotic season.

Paul Joyce, The Times

Given the protagonists involved, it was perhaps no surprise that the afternoon ended with Everton and Nottingham Forest mounting yet more fervent appeals.

With Forest anchored perilously close to the relegation zone, manager Nuno Espírito Santo eventually cut through the fury of perceived refereeing errors to implore his players to remain calm and shape a destiny that remains "in our hands."

Sean Dyche, in contrast, was entitled to ask for respect. The "deduction derby" went the way of Everton, easing their relegation concerns and defiantly raising hopes that there will be top-flight football at Goodison Park for a 71st consecutive campaign next season.

Everton would already be safe were it not for the docking of eight points for breaches of the Profitability and Sustainability Rules due to the excesses of previous regimes. The punishment has also obscured the work that Dyche has overseen this term.

Instead of cherishing 38 points — a tally that would outstrip the haul from 2022-23 in its entirety — they are on 30, but with a five-point cushion from 18th-placed Luton Town, which explained the raucous nature of the celebrations that greeted the final whistle.

Joe Thomas, Liverpool Echo

Everton’s week began in humiliation but Goodison Park united to land a massive blow that sent a relegation rival into farce.

As those in blue applauded the supporters who backed them despite the collapse at Chelsea days earlier, decision-makers at Nottingham Forest were signing off a statement that should have been scrapped in embarrassment.

As a result, the headlines from a win that took Everton to the cusp of Premier League survival will instead focus on the desperate claims of bias Forest launched at officials after the final whistle. That Everton, days after a 6-0 humbling at Chelsea, should not be the team that ends this week in chaos is testament to the significance of this crucial win.

It is also testament to the power of Goodison and the resilience that appeared to have been lost across a difficult few months at Everton. Before the match, supporter group the 1878s spent days telegraphing the importance of rallying behind the players at another time of need - the third season in a row. They acted again and the Gwladys Street and Park End were resplendent with flags, banners and cards as the players emerged from the tunnel.

Those players - and Sean Dyche - knew it was their responsibility to respond on the pitch after days of frank, candid soul-searching at Finch Farm. They did, and this 2-0 win moves Everton five points clear of the bottom three with a game in hand and a superior goal difference to Luton Town, the team at the top of the relegation zone.