Forest were prepared for Wolves ‘ill-discipline’, says boss Steve Cooper

Nottingham Forest boss Steve Cooper accused Wolves’ backroom staff of ill-discipline after the two sides drew 1-1 in a feisty relegation battle.

Brennan Johnson’s first-half effort put Forest on course for a first Premier League win in seven games before Wolves’ substitute Daniel Podence’s late equaliser.

But the game was overshadowed by a touchline melee at the start of the second half and a VAR intervention to check whether Podence had spat at Johnson in the closing stages.

Forest assistant Alan Tate and Wolves counterpart Pablo Sanz were both sent off by referee Chris Kavanagh after the official had waved away Wolves’ appeals for a penalty when Adama Traore went tumbling at the start of the second half.

Cooper said of the touchline incident: “I can’t deny anything happened, but I didn’t see how it started.

“We know, and I don’t say this disrespectfully, but there has been a lot of ill-discipline on the Wolves touchline since the change of manager.

“We were prepared for it. The last thing we wanted was for anything to boil over and for there to be any problems.

“But at our stadium we cannot let opposing staff dominate officials and try and influence the game. We have to stand up to it and that’s all it was.

“I have zero complaints with our staff, zero complaints. We knew it was something that could possibly happen today and we were ready for it.

“You prepare for a game on the pitch and sometimes you have to prepare for it off the pitch as well.

“Certainly in your own stadium when you’ve got a togetherness like we have, our supporters need to see not just the players giving everything, but the staff as well.”

Podence escaped a red card or even a caution after video footage had been checked for possible spitting.

Cooper added: “I’ve seen it back and I’ve spoken to Brennan and I’m not going to add any fuel to the fire because obviously there’s pictures and videos, so you have to trust the authorities to deal with it.

“We’ll trust that the processes will kick in and I don’t want to say any more on that.”

Forest’s winless league run was extended to seven matches and Cooper added: “We were by far the better team.

“Tactically superior and the game-plan really worked.”

Wolves boss Julen Lopetegui said of the touchline flare-up: “In these kinds of matches there is big emotion, but it’s important to keep the emotion in football in the same way as it’s important to keep the respect.

“I want to highlight in football, both things go hand in hand. The emotion, of course we all have, very high, each one fighting for his aims, but in the same way, respect is important.”

Lopetegui, appointed Wolves boss in November, said he did not see the spitting incident and would only comment when he has seen video replays.