‘We have to build an identity’: New Nottingham Forest boss Steve Cooper sets attacking vision as his relegation-battling side scrape 1-1 draw with Millwall
- Steve Cooper has urged his Nottingham Forest team to ‘build an identity’
- Cooper took over at the City ground from Chris Hughton, who was sacked
- Forest got a fortuitous 1-1 draw against Millwall, with Cooper setting out an attacking system
Steve Cooper’s juggling skills are about to come under scrutiny as Nottingham Forest’s new manager works out how to win a relegation battle while imprinting his identity on the club.
The long list of predecessors with similar ambitions would suggest it is easier said than done, though a fortuitous equaliser at least made it an unbeaten welcome to the City Ground.
‘It was not a poor performance but not a brilliant one, either,’ Cooper confessed in the wake of a frantic week on and off the training pitch.
New Nottingham Forest boss Steve Cooper said his team must be competitive after 1-1 draw with Millwall
‘The role of the coach is to get the team to play in a certain way and, while doing that long term, we try to win enough games along the way. We have to be competitive while trying to build an identity.’
Cooper, 41, has spoken to each player about his vision and the immediate consequence is that Forest are playing with wing-backs.
Max Lowe, out on the left, was an unintentional scorer with a 25-yard cross which sailed into the net to cancel out Matt Smith’s header.
Former Swansea boss Cooper, who replaces the sacked Chris Hughton, could not stop beaming as a 25,000-plus crowd welcomed him.
A fortunate 25-yard cross from Max Lowe (left) sailed in to give Forest a much-needed point
His team selection was attack-minded and he was not given any favours when striker Lewis Grabban departed injured early on. There was a sense of anxiety — in the stands, too — when Forest went behind and relief at the equaliser, so no change there.
‘There were some bits that were nice and exciting,’ Cooper added. ‘There were other bits where we will be better. But I have only seen a set of players that care and that is a good start. I’m not that worried because I can see a lot of talent.
‘The challenge has been not to give them too much information.’