Fulham hit five past dire Nottingham Forest to pile pressure on Steve Cooper

<span>Photograph: Javier García/Shutterstock</span>
Photograph: Javier García/Shutterstock

Even the most loyal of Steve Cooper’s supporters will know that there is unlikely to be any way back from Nottingham Forest’s latest capitulation on the road. Change is surely coming after Fulham, revelling in the return of their zest in the final third, pushed Cooper closer to the brink with a devastating performance.

Fulham were outstanding, Alex Iwobi and Raúl Jiménez both scoring twice before Tom Cairney made it five, though they could not have asked for more obliging opponents.

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Forest, who have picked up four away points this season, barely competed. Their owner, Evangelos Marinakis, could be forgiven for leaving his seat in the directors’ box long before full time. Perhaps, after watching his side fall to their fourth consecutive defeat, he had some calls to make.

It will not come as a surprise to Cooper if the sack follows. He apologised to Forest’s travelling fans at the end and could not believe they were still singing his name. “It’s embarrassing,” he said. “I’m grateful but I don’t deserve it. It’s embarrassing to think I can get that on the back of what they’ve seen.”

Cooper did not gloss over Forest’s inadequacies, even accusing his players of not trying hard enough. “That spell where we gave away the two goals in the first half, we came away from the required technical and tactical levels to be competitive,” he said. “We didn’t recover with enough desire.

“Pulling out of tackles, losing races, ending up on the floor in 50-50 combat – if you do that you have a night like tonight. The goals sum up the failings in the game. It’s one I take responsibility for. It’s on me.”

The manner of Fulham’s opening goal captured the difference between the sides. Ibrahim Sangaré, who was no match for João Palhinha in midfield, paid a heavy price after coughing up possession in the 30th minute.

Fulham’s aggression overwhelmed Forest. Cairney skipped past Felipe and Willian had time to deliver a cross from the left. Iwobi, ghosting behind Harry Toffolo, took advantage of Forest’s loss of shape by steering the ball in from close range.

Forest’s soft centre cost them again four minutes later. Iwobi, buoyed by his second goal in three games, linked with Andreas Pereira, who released Jiménez. The striker gave Odysseas Vlachodimos no chance with an emphatic finish.

Fulham purred. They made a slow start to the season but Marco Silva appears to have solved his side’s problems in front of goal. They have scored 11 times in their past three matches and they punished Forest again at the start of the second half. Pereira lifted a pass over the top and Jiménez outmuscled Ola Aina before rounding Vlachodimos and scoring with an indulgent back-heel.

Forest’s defending was pitiful. There was no resistance as the substitute Harry Wilson crossed for Iwobi to score again.

There was no attempt from anyone in red to track back when Fulham won possession and Cairney strode through to complete the scoring. Forest are in trouble.