Cooper’s Forest Phenomenon Comes To An End As Nuno Takes The Reins

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Steve Cooper’s arrival at the City Ground and Nottingham Forest ultimately ended in a form turnaround that very few fans were expecting, although they certainly wanted and welcomed it.

The 44 year old former Swansea City gaffer joined the club in September 2021 when they were sat dead last in the second tier table, and he pretty immediately improved their style of play on an attacking front and won the fans over. In fact, he led them to fourth place in the division by the end of the year and after a successful Play Off battle and Wembley appearance, Brian Clough’s former trailblazer’s returned to the top flight of football for the first time in a long time.

The 2022/23 Premier League campaign saw the expected struggles, more struggles than the phenomenal number of players they signed that summer in fairness, but ultimately they finished safe in 16th place and consolidated their position.

2023/24 also sees them battling at the bottom of the table, but despite the incredible support Cooper has received from owner Evangelos Marinakis – that has now come to an end after five defeats in their last six games, and he has been replaced by former Wolverhampton Wanderers and Tottenham Hotspur manager Nuno Espirito Santo.

Speaking at the press conference following the announcement of his hiring, the Portuguese gaffer was fully aware of what his predecessor had achieved, and he was determined to build on the foundations that he had been left.

“We have a good group of players, a squad that needs to become better. What Steve Cooper did here is amazing. Putting Forest back in the Premier League, keeping Forest in the Premier League. That shows how good Forest fans are, the respect they show for Steve. That says a lot about our fans. We are trying to improve his legacy.”

After a spell away from the English game as he spent a couple of months out in the newly minted Saudi Arabian Pro League, Nuno’s return to the top flight will be on home soil as they entertain Bournemouth this coming Saturday, and he his first task was to try and get some confidence into the players, and get them on some kind of unbeaten run again, even if it was only a few draws in succession to put the defeats in the rear view.

“What we can bring is to try and improve the players. Help players become better, give them the solution that they need to compete well – starting on Saturday. Play good and win – that’s the biggest challenge we have ahead of us. It’s a huge challenge.”

Forest fans will be hoping he can have an immediate impact on the side, as there are still plenty of games left and points to be won for them to put relegation worries behind them again for this year.

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