premier-league

Steve Cooper uses Nottingham Forest’s history in the League Cup as motivation

Steve Cooper says Nottingham Forest’s history is something those currently at the club embrace and want to use as motivation as they look to create “new moments”.

Forest’s roll of honor famously includes a league title and two European Cup triumphs under Brian Clough, who also oversaw them winning four league cups.

On Wednesday, they will play in the semi-finals of the latter competition for the first time in 31 years, taking on Manchester United at home in the first leg before traveling to Old Trafford for the second leg a week later.

Asked how important the club’s history was to him going into big games like Wednesday’s, boss Cooper, who last season guided Forest back to the Premier League after a 23-year absence, said: “I think we embrace it .

“We’re not trying to (let) it be an obstacle or an extra pressure. We’re going to use it as a motivation, to understand who we are and what we represent.

“I’ve said from the moment I stepped in (in September 2021) you can’t get away from the history of this club and you shouldn’t, so embrace it, represent it as best you can, but in a modern way, in a way in which we try to look forward, try to create new eras, positive eras, new moments.

“I think it’s a good balance. This club is what it is because of its history and we should always be proud of that.”

Having been promoted via the Sky Bet Championship play-offs, Forest are currently 13th in the top flight and are tied with Erik ten Hags United, who have lost just twice in their last 11 games in all competitions – 3-0 away to the Red Devils in December and 4-1 at Blackpool in the FA Cup earlier this month.

Cooper added: “We’re really excited about it, that’s for sure, and to put Nottingham Forest on the stage in the semi-finals of an important competition is right and a long time coming.

“We’re really excited to put the club on this stage again and we just want to make sure we do ourselves justice.

“Even before this round, we have been very clear about the club’s history in this competition to the players. I remember before the Tottenham game (a 2-0 win in round three) we showed them the story and I know it was quite a while ago but that’s why supporters will be excited about this tournament, why they want to play big. importance to it, and we must respect that, and we would anyway. So players pay attention.

“It’s obviously a different era now and a different generation, and not just with the League Cup, we’re trying to create new positivity around the place, and the League Cup is inclusive in that. So we are really looking forward to the game.”

Meanwhile, Forest and Wolves have been fined by the Football Association for the brawl that followed Forest’s quarter-final penalty shootout win.

Tempers flared at the City Ground with players and staff from both sides confronting each other after Dean Henderson saved Joe Hodge’s spot-kick.

Forest have been fined £40,000 and Wolves £45,000 after both clubs admitted “failing to ensure that their players and benches behaved in an orderly manner and refrained from provocative behavior after the final whistle”, according to the FA.

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