‘The manager gave us belief’: how Steve Cooper transformed Forest

The October international break was the ideal time for former Swansea coach to drum his methods into his playersWith one half of Wembley empty and the other delirious at restoring old rivalries in the Premier League next season, the Nottingham Forest captain, Joe Worrall, kissed a cardboard cutout of Steve Cooper flanked by Steve Cook, a shrewd free transfer in January, and the likable midfielder Joe Lolley.By this point the actual Forest manager, club scarf around his shoulders, was in between catching his son in his arms and punching the air three times in front of supporters, as has become tradition after victories, a celebration he repeated on Monday before the thousands who congregated in the city’s Old Market Square. But moments after victory Cooper retreated to the dugout, covered his face with his hands and afforded himself a few quiet seconds to digest everything that had happened.

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