Mauricio Pochettino did warn it will be a while before Chelsea truly start to reflect how much they have cost.
Though he might not have expected more – and humiliating – evidence to back up his tempering of expectations to come so quickly.
A day after Chelsea’s spending under their new owners ticked past the £1bn mark following the £42.5m arrival of Cole Palmer from Manchester City, Nottingham Forest turned up at Stamford Bridge and left with their first here since 1995.
As they have been under Pochettino and unsurprisingly, Chelsea were the dominant side throughout.
But they made one big mistake which was clinically punished by one of Forest’s own summer signings, substitute Anthony Elanga, and failed to make the most of the promising situations they created themselves. A bad combination.
Nottingham Forest secured their first away win of season against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge
Anthony Elanga scored the only goal of the match after being set up by Taiwo Awoniyi
Chelsea created a number of chances but could not find the equaliser against Forest
The best of them fell to Nicolas Jackson who could only produce a miss-of-the-season contender from inside the six-yard box, somehow scooping Raheem Sterling’s cut back over an unguarded net.
It was a blown chance to level late on and summed up Chelsea’s ruthlessness – or lack of it – against Steve Cooper’s side who defended doggedly to protect their hard-earned lead.
CHELSEA (3-4-3): Sanchez 6.5; Disasi 6.5, Silva 6, Colwill 7; Gusto 7.5 (Mudryk 77), Caicedo 6.5 (Maatsen 77), Gallagher 6.5 (Madueke 62, 6), Chilwell 7.5 (Palmer 62, 6) ; Fernandez 7, Sterling 6.5; Jackson 5.
Subs not used: Bergstrom, Petrovic, Cucurella, Ugochukwu, Washington
Booked: Chilwell, JacksonManager: Mauricio Pochettino 6
NOTTINGHAM FOREST (5-2-3): Turner 7.5; Aurier 7.5 (Montiel 72, 6), Boly 8, Worrall 8.5, McKenna 8, Aina 8 (Tavares 72, 6); Mangala 7.5 (Kouyate 73, 6), Yates 7.5; Danilo 6 (Elanga 45, 7.5), Gibbs-White 7.5; Awoniyi 7 (Wood 65, 6.5).
Subs not used: Horvath, Felipe, Niakhate, Aguilera
Booked: Aina, Yates, Tavares, TurnerManager: Steve Cooper 8
Referee: Tim Robinson 6
In the end Chelsea ran out ideas.
The first half was full of near misses for both sides but especially Chelsea, a sign of things to come.
The pattern begun just two minutes in after Nicolas Jackson passed up the chance to shoot but Ben Chilwell crossed for in-form Raheem Sterling.
He seemed all set for a simple tap-in until Ola Aina appeared and came to Forest’s rescue with a brilliantly-timed, last-ditch challenge.
A couple more equally-dangerous situations followed that almost led to chances for Jackson, the second following another teasing ball in from the left from Chilwell.
Later on the in the half, he was the recipient of a delivery from the right from Sterling but failed to connect with the winger’s cross.
Before that Conor Gallagher, still at Chelsea after Tottenham’s deadline day interest did not quite develop into a move, drove forward and fired just wide of the top corner with his weaker left foot.
Enzo Fernandez was also off target with a tame curler and Jackson’s touch took him too wide allowing Joe Worrall to get across and block out his shot.
The half ended in familiar fashion for Chelsea, Chilwell getting away down the left and crossing but the ball just evading Sterling.
Forest’s threat during the half had come mainly from setpieces. Twice in five minutes they threatened.
From the first free-kick dropped deep into their box, Chelsea failed to clear and Worrall could not keep his volley down, sending it well over.
The second opportunity fell to a far more likely scorer in Taiwo Awoniyi but he could only hook his acrobatic volley wide.
The best chance of the game for Chelsea fell to Nicolas Jackson, who missed from close-range
Cole Palmer came off the bench for his Chelsea debut, but could not help them avoid defeat
An open play opportunity finally arrived for Forest early in the second half and from it they scored.
They were given a bit of assistance from Chelsea. Gallagher and Caicedo failed to get the ball under control in the midfield and, under pressure, the former could only play a pass to Awoniyi rather than a teammate.
The Forest striker cleverly slipped the ball through Thiago Silva’s legs to put Elanga through and he sidefooted Forest ahead, scoring his first goal since his summer move from Manchester United.
For Chelsea, it was more of a repeat of the first half.
Chilwell got to the byline for the umpteenth tie and saw his low cross cut out before Jackson was put into what looked like a promising position only to take a touch which improved Forest’s chances of keeping him out more than his of scoring.
Mauricio Pochettino did warn it will be a while before Chelsea truly start to show their quality
Pochettino turned to deadline day signing Cole Palmer and Noni Madueke off his bench and the former quickly got the Chelsea crowd off their seats with some quick feet on the edge of the box and his willingness to run with the ball. When he was in possession they sensed something might happen. Or hoped anyway. Chelsea needed something, as the game entered the final 20 minutes.
Almost all of it was played out deep in Forest’s half and when Sterling dribbled to the byline and pulled the ball back.
Jackson appeared to have the simplest of tasks with Matt Turner grounded having come out to try and close the angle down as Sterling raced through.
But, falling back, Jackson could only lift the ball over the bar and that was as close as Chelsea came to snatching a point.