Steve Cooper says the remarkable work he has done at Nottingham Forest is because his players feel loved as his team secured promotion to the Premier League through the play-offs.
Forest defeated Huddersfield 1-0 on Sunday afternoon at Wembley Stadium thanks to a first-half own goal from Levi Colwill to complete the stunning turnaround Cooper has planned at the club.
The Welshman took over with Forest at the bottom in September but guided them into the play-off places through which they fought, beating Sheffield United ahead of another Yorkshire side at Wembley.
When asked how he achieved such an effect, Cooper said it won the hearts of his players who did the trick.
“It’s a difficult world now, it’s a great and glamorous world in football and as a manager, but it’s also a tough and spiteful one,” he told Sky Sports.
“I just want these players to know that I’m their number one supporter and that I love them and will give them my all.
“It doesn’t mean I’m gentle with them, doesn’t mean I don’t challenge and challenge them, but in the end everyone loves to be loved and that’s what we tried to do with these players. We’re after them and we’re holding on to them.’
Backing this up was Forest captain Joe Worrall, who was full of praise for his manager just after the final whistle.
“He gave us that belief,” Worrall said. “I keep using the phrase like being like a whipped dog.
“If you treat a dog kindly, he becomes a nice dog. When they abuse you they are aggressive and we were an abused team.
“But I think he came in and gave us that hope and faith and was just so nice that he killed us with kindness. The fans absolutely love him and I was made for him.’
It was far from a north London classic, but Cooper was content with his side being the better of the two in the first half and then dug in to hold on to their slim lead in the second stanza.
“I’m very happy for the players, very happy for the fans,” Cooper said. “I thought we played well in the first half, apart from not being too creative.
“Of all the good goals we’ve scored this season, we get one like that, but it doesn’t matter. We managed to pull it off in the second half.
“Everyone associated with the football club deserves it and we are very much looking forward to a positive future.”
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https://metro.co.uk/2022/05/29/steve-cooper-explains-secret-behind-nottingham-forests-promotion-to-premier-league-16733163/ Steve Cooper explains the secret behind Nottingham Forest's promotion to the Premier League | Soccer