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Steve Cooper defends Jesse Lingard's slow start as Nottingham Forest fall to 2-0 defeat at Newcastle

‘He will be important to us going forward’: Steve Cooper defends Jesse Lingard’s lackluster Nottingham Forest debut as his side fall in opening defeat at Newcastle

  • Nottingham Forest manager Steve Cooper defended Jesse Lingard despite loss
  • The tent signing seemed to play a peripheral role in St James Park
  • Forest lost 2-0 to Newcastle United in their first Premier League game since 1999

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Nottingham Forest boss Steve Cooper wouldn’t be inclined to criticize Jesse Lingard, but his use of the word ‘glimpse’ revealed just how peripheral his signing really was during a disappointing debut.

Cooper, whose side put up a good resistance at Newcastle for an hour but ended up being well beaten 2-0, preferred to lament his team’s performance rather than focus on Lingard, who arrived for free this summer with a wage of £120,000 a week.

“I have no problem with our attitude and commitment. We looked good physically and never gave in,” said Cooper. “Jesse Lingard was an example of the team (in that respect).

Jesse Lingard got off to an unfavorable start in Nottingham Forest's 2-0 opening day defeat

Jesse Lingard got off to an unfavorable start in Nottingham Forest’s 2-0 opening day defeat

“He worked hard and tried his best, but as a team we didn’t get the ball to him and we didn’t get enough bodies around him. He showed a glimpse of his abilities. He will be important to us in the future, we just need to be better with the ball.”

Cooper has spent £85m on 12 new players and it looks like it could be some time before his side clicks, especially from an attacking perspective. They failed to register a shot on goal and one corner routine, where they had no players in the penalty area, has since been mocked on social media.

“We fell short in our performance today, but we live and learn,” said Cooper. “We didn’t have good possession and there weren’t enough passes to get them off, and that cost us the two goals in the end.

“The way we gave the ball away in play for the goals, that’s not the team I want us to be. Newcastle were the better side and deserved to win.

“They had a lot of the ball and territory, and we’re okay with that, although we don’t want that too often if we can help it. We felt the difference today, and it’s a big difference, but we have to think quickly and get used to it.’

It could be a while before Steve Cooper's Forest clicks after spending £85m on new talent this year

It could be a while before Steve Cooper's Forest clicks after spending £85m on new talent this year

It could be a while before Steve Cooper’s Forest clicks after spending £85m on new talent this year

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