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Nottingham Post
Nottingham Post
Matt Davies

Steve Cooper post-match anger at 'soft touch' Nottingham Forest as he faces Jesse Lingard problem

Familiar failings returned to Nottingham Forest as they collapsed to a 5-0 defeat to Arsenal on Sunday.

The Reds were in the game at half-time, but conceded three times at the start of the second half as they were out-classed and out-worked by the Premier League leaders.

We discussed the game and the upcoming fixture against Brentford in the latest Garibaldi Red podcast with host Matt Davies and guests Michael Temple and BBC Radio Nottingham's David Jackson. Here is a part of the conversation and you can here the full episode here.

READ MORE: Defender explains £13m transfer decision after Forest 'enquiry'

READ MORE: Brutal Forest admission made after 'painful viewing' against Arsenal

How was Steve Cooper after the game? He was more critical of his players than normal after a defeat.

DJ: "He seemed annoyed, frustrated and quite angry with what he saw in the second half. He said there wasn't a competitive element in the second half and he seemed surprised by it.

"I said to him that it seemed odd they weren't quite up for the top team away from home. You'd think having beaten Liverpool and being against an Arsenal team that had played Thursday night, you could maybe get something.

"He was annoyed (by the performance). He wasn't in the best of moods and what you often get from a manager after a game is a message they want to get out. No matter what you ask, they want to get to a message and he kept coming back to the competitive element phrase.

"He kept saying the players need to take it personally. They've got two home games before the World Cup. On the evidence of Liverpool but not Arsenal, it's an opportunity to get points on the board."

Forest have to bounce back against Brentford. What changes would you make?

MT: "Neco Williams comes back in at left-back for me. Lodi has struggled for form in games. In a good team he's been good going forwards.

"The other debate for me is what you do with Lingard. You can be seen as a better player when you're out of the team. Dennis and Johnson will be desperate for another chance."

DJ: "Lingard, we haven't seen the best of him by any stretch. He's obviously got ability and you have to find a way to get that out of him. Whether that's about systems or just down to him, only Steve Cooper will know.

"He's not the only one underperforming, but he's held to a slightly higher standard because of his pedigree. You have a different expectation level and we've not seen as much as he's capable of. Cooper has the conundrum of whether he keeps playing him because we know what he can do. We saw it against Spurs, but not in other games.

"As for left-back, Lodi has perhaps been better used further forwards. Does he work in a back four? I quite like liked Williams vs Liverpool.

MT: "If we saw the best of any of the players they'd be in for a run of games. The challenge now is they we aren't bring players in because they're doing well off the bench. We're taking players out because they are struggling and that's a tough spot."

Should the players be embarrassed after that second half at Arsenal?

MD: "If there's one thing I hope they take from Arsenal, it's got to sting being labelled a soft touch as a Premier league player. They were a soft touch.

"It's happened at Man City, which is understandable and it happened at Leicester, which is less understandable. I hope that hurt and they stand up in the next two home games."

DJ: "I think that's what Steve Cooper was saying afterwards, the players have to take it personally. They won't want to be seen like that. They've got to take it to heart and put it right immediately. They'll be watching that game back and be horrified."

Will Forest bounce back against Brentford? Have your say in the comments below


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