"We've got to get up to speed": Steve Cooper on disappointment following Newcastle United loss
(Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images)

Nottingham Forest manager Steve Cooper said his side will need to adjust to the top flight after a disappointing return to the Premier League saw The Reds lose a league game for the first time since the 3rd of May.

This was both team’s first game of the season, which saw Newcastle take the lead after dominating the game. In the 58th minute, central defender Fabian Schar broke the deadlock with a long range strike into the top right corner of Dean Henderson’s net, followed by a 77th minute goal by Callum Wilson to make it 2-0 to the hosts.

For Steve Cooper’s side, this was their first Premier League game in 23 years and the gap in quality between the sides showed, with Forest lacking quality in the final third and struggling to break through the press from Newcastle leading them to consistently losing the ball.

Despite the hope Nottingham Forest had going into this historical return to the Premier League, Cooper’s side, which contained many debutants, struggled to gel together and make any real chances to trouble the debuting Newcastle goalkeeper Nick Pope.

Forest’s closest chances of the game came through new signing Jesse Lingardwho has signed on a free transfer on a year long deal, and Sam Surridge, however neither effort fully threatened The Magpie's clean sheet.

In interviews prior to the match Steve Cooper said his team need to embrace the larger scale of the Premier League and behave like a top flight club whilst also echoing the faith he has in his squad.

In this game he opted to use the same system that brought him success in the Championship with a steady back five, three in midfield and two players in attack.

He wants them to attack the Premier League, enjoy the challenge and be the best version of themselves.

  • On Forest’s performance

Throughout the game Newcastle were the dominant side and Nottingham Forest failed to address that as the game went on leading to Callum Wilson scoring the second goal for Newcastle in the 77th minute following a great finish past Dean Henderson due to his movement in the box to get in front of their new defender Moussa Niakhate.

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Cooper highlighted his frustration towards the nature of the goals that his side let in.

"I'm disappointed with the goals we've conceded, we gave the ball away too many times and our in-possession game wasn't good enough today. Everything is at a higher level now and we've got to get up to speed.”

  • Looking to the future

The fairytale return to the Premier League was not to be for Cooper and his players, but the Reds boss was keen to stress his belief that his players will adjust to the level demanded of his team.

“We need to keep learning as we go, it was good for the team to feel what the Premier League is about today but at the same time we believe in what we do and believe we can have an impact in games.

“Nothing has been defined today, it was a tough game and we're disappointed but we'll learn.”

However, he did admit: "Newcastle were better than us on the day, and we respect that.”

  • An important lesson for Nottingham Forest 

The game had a large amount of hype around it as both teams had hope coming into the new campaign and despite some quality lacking in both teams, Newcastle can take many positives away from the match, whereas Forest now have to try to integrate their new signings into their side. 

Cooper did take lessons from Forest’s historic return to the top flight and urged his players to work on their ability to retain the ball following the loss.

"We've got to live and learn from the game and we can be a better team than that. If you give the ball away too cheaply at this level you're going to get punished and that's what happened.“

Nottingham Forest will look to correct their losing start to the season at The City Ground where they host West Ham on the 14th of August.

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