Inside Steve Cooper’s Nottingham Forest revolution

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Under Cooper, Forest have recovered from their worst league start since 1913 to win eight of his 17 matches, losing only three, to transform the direction of the season.

They are now six points adrift of the play-offs, and it is the 42 year old Welshman driving their forward momentum.

Cooper was scouting for the Football Association when the call came from Forest, shortly after Hughton’s final game in charge.

During his first week, Cooper staged a presentation for all club staff outlining his philosophy for the future.

In that meeting, he made it clear that standards have to always remain high, and there will be “no hierarchy” – in a similar approach to England manager Gareth Southgate, there is no ‘gaffer’ and ‘boss’ and everyone calls him ‘Coops’.

The focus is on a ‘high-performing culture’ and constant daily behaviours.

Shortly after his appointment he met with legendary former players including Garry Birtles and John McGovern – both European Cup winners under Brian Clough – to build a better understanding of the club.

Cooper places huge emphasis on team meetings [lots of them], and also between individuals and coaches.

An old office at the training ground, known as the “team room”, has been upgraded into an auditorium where players congregate to prepare for matches in lengthy detail.

Cooper places trust in a leadership group, led by club captain Lewis Grabban, and those players are encouraged to take their own initiative.

The style of football is flexible – switching from a 3-4-3 formation to 4-2-3-1 – and focused on attacking, intensity and breaking lines quickly.

Players are flourishing under the new approach, such as Wales international Brennan Johnson, full-back Djed Spence, the hugely under-rated midfielder Ryan Yates and Grabban, who has ten goals this season.

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