Steve Cooper rues second-half showing; sticks to his guns over Nottingham Forest’s transfer window

Steve Cooper Forest September 2022

Steve Cooper has insisted Nottingham Forest’s mammoth transfer window was planned and says his team have to improve after the 3-2 defeat to Bournemouth.

Bournemouth completed a roller-coaster week in style as they came from two goals at half-time down to win 3-2 at the City Ground on Saturday. The Cherries, who lost 9-0 at Liverpool last weekend, looked on course for another defeat under the temporary charge of Gary O’Neil.

Cheikhou Kouyate’s header and Brennan Johnson’s penalty put Bournemouth on the back foot.

But O’Neil’s men responded and got back in it through Philip Billing’s wonder strike from distance and then drew level through Dominic Solanke’s acrobatic effort.

The memorable comeback was completed three minutes from time. The visitors capitalised on poor defending by Scott McKenna as Jaidon Anthony scored the winner.

Cooper said: “We were good for the 2-0 lead in the first half, controlled the game, looked like the team to threaten the opponent’s goal. We were comfortable but it was a really poor first goal to conceded and it set the tone.”

Ironically, Cooper said his side looked like two separate teams. And with the transfer window they have had they can almost field two XIs with new players.

“We looked like two different teams,” bemoaned Cooper. “The second goal was a set-piece and Scott McKenna made an error for the third goal. The performance in the second half cost us the game.

Cooper: ‘We have to take it on the chin’

“We certainly didn’t manage the second half and conceded three goals at home, that is not good.

“We don’t play for a while now so have to make sure it does not linger too long. For large parts of the second half it was not good enough. But we have to take it on the chin.”

Cooper was also asked about his club’s transfer window which saw 21 new arrivals this summer.

Forest made Wolves centre-back Willy Boly, Blackpool winger Josh Bowler, and Rennes defender Loic Bade – on loan, with an option for a permanent deal – their 19th, 20th and 21st summer signings on deadline day.

None though were involved against Bournemouth, but Cooper says the volume of new recruits was planned.

“It is a plan we had in place for the summer. Regardless of what has happened in the last two games, we just have to do better,” added Cooper.