Steve Cooper refreshingly honest as he reflects on losing to a dominant Newcastle United

Steve Cooper did a superb job in taking over during last season and guiding Nottingham Forest to the Premier League, via the play-offs.

On Saturday at St James’ Park, the Forest boss will have got some idea of the challenge ahead in the top tier.

The scoreline was deceptive and I think Steve Cooper will actually have been relieved that it wasn’t a four or five goal opening day defeat, as Newcastle had the chances to really punish the visitors.

Steve Cooper was refreshingly honest when reflecting on what he had watched, declaring ‘Newcastle were better than us on the day and we respect that.’

To be honest, the Forest boss couldn’t have claimed anything else as Newcastle were so dominant, Nick Pope not having a save to make whilst Dean Henderson faced ten on target, whilst the corner count was 11 v 1 in NUFC’s favour. However, as we well know, there are managers who will claim anything, no matter how ridiculous it sounds after a defeat, after all NUFC have employed one or two of them in living memory.

Steve Cooper also keen to point out where his players could have done better but in truth it was pretty much a perfect game plan from Eddie Howe and the execution of it by his team, not allowing the promoted visitors any real foothold or encouragement in the match.

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Steve Cooper speaking after Nottingham Forest lost 2-0 to Newcastle United:

“Newcastle were better than us on the day and we respect that.

“I’m disappointed with the goals we have 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.

“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.

“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 and make sure we’re better in certain aspects next weekend back at home.”

Stats from BBC Sport:

Newcastle 2 Nottingham Forest 0 – Saturday 6 August 3pm

Goals:

Newcastle:

Schar 58, Wilson 78

Forest:

(Half-time stats in brackets)

Possession was Forest 38% (35%) Newcastle 62% (65%)

Total shots were Forest 5 (3) Newcastle 23 (14)

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Shots on target were Forest 0 (0) Newcastle 10 (6)

Corners were Forest 1 (0) Newcastle 11 (7)

Referee: Simon Hooper

Attendance:  52,245 (Forest 3,000)

Newcastle United:

Pope, Trippier, Schar, Burn, Targett, Willock (Sean Longstaff 80), Bruno (Botman 90+3), Joelinton, Almiron (Fraser 81), Wilson (Wood 90), Saint-Maximin (Murphy 90)

Unused Subs:

Dubravka, Dummett, Ritchie, Anderson

(Newcastle 2 Nottingham Forest 0 – Match ratings and comments on all the NUFC players – Read HERE)

(Eddie Howe reflects on Newcastle United beating Forest, Lascelles injury and central defender dilemma – Read HERE)

(Newcastle 2 Nottingham Forest 0 – Instant NUFC fan / writer reaction to Saturday’s excellent victory – Read HERE)

(Alan Shearer loving Newcastle 2 Nottingham Forest 0 – Salutes goalscorers and ‘Fantastic’ man of the match – Read HERE)

(Newcastle 2 Nottingham Forest 0 – Dominant classy opening day for United, just look at these stats – Read HERE)

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