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Nottingham Forest ‘tackles’ issues normally resolved in pre-season, Steve Cooper reveals… he’s under no illusions about the challenge ahead, the next two weeks are crucial to their hopes of survival
- Nottingham Forest have struggled in the first seven games of the season
- Steve Cooper must address imbalance and lack of defensive solidity in his team
- Forest is currently addressing issues that are usually resolved in pre-season
Nottingham Forest won’t be back until October 3, but the next two weeks will be crucial if they are to survive in the Premier League.
Manager Steve Cooper needs to use the international break to figure out how to bring some cohesion and resilience to what is essentially an all-new Forest team.
It came after a fourth consecutive loss – 3-2 to Fulham on Friday night – that left them stuck in the bottom three.
Steve Cooper has said they are addressing issues that are usually resolved in the preseason
Cooper was backed with 22 new signings and a £150m outlay over the summer, but the fact that players were still coming in by the deadline made life difficult.
“There are parts of our game where we look like a new team and that’s the kind of thing you tackle in preseason. We’re tackling it in the middle of the Premier League,” said Cooper.
‘We have challenged ourselves – how do we become a team? Whether it’s our tactical ideas, our togetherness, our spirit, pushing each other that comes when you really trust each other and trust builds over time.
Nottingham Forest’s lack of ability to hold onto a lead is already hurting their hopes of survival
“We’ve lost four games now and that’s not good as we go through that process to become a team. We just have to stick with it in terms of points.’
A big problem is that Forest’s heads fall after giving in, leaving them vulnerable to further blows.
Bournemouth took advantage of that by fighting back from two goals behind to win at the City Ground earlier this month and Fulham left the place stunned with three goals in just six minutes.
Willy Boly came in for Joe Worrall against Fulham on Friday, but Forest’s defensive problems remain
Cooper initially held onto his promotion-winning three of Joe Worrall, Steve Cook and Scott McKenna – who are familiar with each other’s game – but they proved vulnerable.
New addition Willy Boly came in for Worrall on Friday night, but the problem remains.
“That moment when you score goals, when you have to regroup and stick together, that’s part of an experienced team with connections on the pitch,” said Cooper.
Cooper has a tough job turning the ship around ahead of the winter World Cup
“Obviously that’s something we don’t have, because of the nature of how the squad is put together and the timing of it.
“Whether it’s concentration, a little bit of anxiety, trying to get back into the game too soon. If you do that at any level, you can be punished, but especially at this level.’
Forest then has an East Midlands derby with Leicester and it already looks like a huge moment in both clubs’ seasons.