'Playing great and losing' - Nottingham Forest boss Steve Cooper offers thoughts on Leeds United defeat
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The American’s opposite number insisted he was not entirely happy with the hosts’ performance despite taking the lead early on and holding their lead until the final whistle. Forest went in front through Brennan Johnson during the first half, but sat back for the remaining 70 minutes, intent on frustrating the Whites and hitting Leeds on the counter.
“We did have to work for it, you're right,” Cooper began. “The first half was, for us, some really important individual moments that ended up being pivotal on which was Keylor [Navas]’s saves and Brennan's finish for the goal, because the performance we've been hit the heights of what we are both with and without the ball.”
"We had to make some changes tactically at half-time [and] personnel and I thought second half defensively we were excellent. Luckily, Keylor made all his saves in the first half and think he didn't have anything to do in the second half which told you how good we were defensively. And because of that, we didn't quite get our football rhythm going with the ball. And I accept that. But at least we felt that that was going to be the situation, so when that happens, you have to make sure that you do the other side of the game well, we did second half, no doubt about that.
Reflecting on the newly-promoted side’s display, Cooper stated he was grateful to be discussing a game which his team had won, rather than ‘playing great and losing’, even if he felt the performance did not match.
"Even though that's probably the first time we've won a game where we've not played great this year, and maybe we deserve that, I'll say. But at the same time the first half, we’ve got to play better in the Premier League to try and pick up wins and points.
"I’d much rather be sitting here after that, than maybe playing great and losing,” Cooper added.