Nottingham Forest ‘don’t quite look like a team yet’, admits Steve Cooper after latest defeat

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Steve Cooper before a Nottingham Forest match Credit: PA Images
Steve Cooper before a Nottingham Forest match Credit: PA Images

Steve Cooper has reminded Nottingham Forest of the “ruthless” nature of the Premier League after a 3-2 loss to Fulham left him wondering how much of a team they feel like.

It has been a tricky start to life back in the Premier League for Nottingham Forest after their long-awaited promotion. The play-off winners changed their squad to a significant degree over the summer, bringing in more than 20 new players.

But things are yet to really click for Cooper’s side, who have won just one of their first seven matches in the top flight.

On Friday night, they lost 3-2 to fellow promoted side Fulham, despite having taken the lead via Taiwo Awoniyi in the first half.

Fulham turned things around quickly in the second half, going from 1-0 down to 3-1 up within six minutes between the 54th and 60th.

Lewis O’Brien pulled one back for Nottingham Forest late on, but they remain in the relegation zone with just four points on the board.

According to their manager Steve Cooper, they need to get better at responding to setbacks. Indeed, there will likely be a lot to deal with in the Premier League.

And with the team still searching for cohesion, Cooper thinks more togetherness and understanding must come in time.

He said: “A lot of it is self-inflicted I think. We are not managing conceding that first goal very well. We are not settled enough after it.

“There has been a few occasions now that we look vulnerable. We were OK in the first half and were fairly in control out of the ball. I thought we started the second half well but then they got a corner, scored from it, then the second goal.

“We need to look at ourselves first. It’s as simple as that really.

“There are elements of our game where we don’t quite look like a team yet and that will come with time and experience which we don’t have yet because of the nature of the summer.

Steve Cooper highlights Premier League scrutiny

“There’s some good bits of play then other times we don’t look like a team and we are getting punished in those moments. This is the Premier League so there is scrutiny and we are no different. We need to sort ourselves out quickly.

“The supporters stayed behind the team and wanted us to get a third goal so we’re grateful for that. We know where we were 12 months ago but we are not looking back on that. There are areas we have fallen short so we need to look at that quickly.

“We need to stick together and not hide away from it. If we do that we give ourselves the best chance of progressing.

“This league won’t be easy. It is ruthless and we need to get up to speed quickly. It will be a difficult few days after the manner of the defeat tonight but we need to make sure we reflect then do our best to improve.”

Forest will have to wait until October 3 for their next match after the international break. It will be against fellow strugglers Leicester City.

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