The next two weeks are crucial to Forest's survival hopes

Nottingham Forest are ‘addressing’ issues that normally get resolved in pre-season, reveals Steve Cooper… he is under no illusions of the challenge ahead with the next two weeks crucial to their hopes of survival

  • Nottingham Forest have struggled in their opening seven games of the season
  • Steve Cooper must address imbalance and lack of defensive solidity in his team
  • Forest are currently addressing issues that usually get resolved in pre-season

Nottingham Forest don’t play again until October 3 but the next fortnight will be pivotal if they are to survive in the Premier League.

Manager Steve Cooper must use the international break to figure out how to instil some coherence and resilience into what is essentially a completely new Forest team.

It came after a fourth consecutive defeat – 3-2 to Fulham on Friday night – left them stuck in the bottom three.

Steve Cooper has said that they are addressing issues that usually get resolved in pre-season

Cooper was backed with 22 new signings and a spend of £150million over the summer but the fact players were still coming in on deadline day made life difficult.

‘There are parts of our game where we look like a new team and that’s the sort of stuff you address in pre-season. We’re addressing it right in the middle of the Premier League,’ Cooper said.

‘We have challenged ourselves – how do we become a team? Whether it’s our tactical ideas, our togetherness, our spirit, pushing each other, that comes when you have real trust with each other and trust is built over time.

Nottingham Forest’s lack of ability to hold onto a lead is hurting their hopes of survival already 

‘We have lost four games on the bounce now and that’s no good, all while going through that process of becoming a team. We just have to stay with it in terms of points.’

One major problem is that Forest’s heads drop after they concede, making them vulnerable to further blows.

Bournemouth exploited that by fighting back from two goals down to win at the City Ground earlier this month and Fulham left the place stunned with three strikes in just six minutes.

Willy Boly came in for Joe Worrall against Fulham on Friday but Forest’s defensive issues remain

Cooper initially kept faith with his promotion-winning back three of Joe Worrall, Steve Cook and Scott McKenna – who are familiar with each other’s game – but they proved fragile.

New signing Willy Boly came in for Worrall on Friday night, but the problem remains.

‘That moment of conceding goals, when you need to regroup and stay together, that comes with an experienced team with connections on the pitch,’ Cooper said.

Cooper has a difficult job on his hands turning the ship around ahead of the winter World Cup 

‘That is something we don’t have, obviously, because of the nature of how the squad has been put together and the timing of it.

‘Whether it’s concentration, a bit of anxiety, trying to get back into the game too quick. If you do that at any level you can be punished, but particularly at this one.’

Forest have an East Midlands derby with Leicester next and it’s already looking like a huge moment in both clubs’ seasons.

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