Football

Nottingham Forest: Steve Cooper transformation ensures Premier League return

30 May 2022 | 08:13

It’s hard not to feel sorry for Huddersfield Town.

Defeated in football’s richest game by an unfortunate own goal and denied two possible penalties, it was indeed a day to forget at Wembley.

But for Nottingham Forest, while they may just pass Sky Bet Championship play-off final In itself, promotion to the Premier League was just a reward for Steve Cooper’s transformation.

On a high-stakes weekend of popular finals, the contrast between the winners in Paris on Saturday and in London on Sunday could hardly be more stark when the data are concerned.

While Real Madrid somehow lifted the trophy Despite ‘losing’ every Champions League knockout tie they entered this season on target (xG), Forest have certainly earned their spot big time.

Cooper said: “I am delighted that everyone at the club is doing their job in the Premier League.

“There’s no doubt we deserved the promotion, the football we played, the games we won, the attitude we gave. Every time we had an average game, we recovered. “

He’s not wrong.

Forest’s return to the Premier League for the first time in 23 years seemed completely fanciful when Cooper walks through the door in September with the bottom club.

The Welsh player arrived after Fire Chris Hughton after a poor start to the season but the problems go much deeper than a slow team coming out of blocks.

Ignoring the growing pressure of a club of Forest’s caliber without top football for more than two decades and focusing exclusively on football, Cooper is inheriting a team that simply isn’t so good.

Under Hughton early on 21/22, Forest average 0.71 expected goals for (xGF) per game.

Are from Infogol have started collecting data, only Ipswich (0.74) and Bolton (0.75) have come close to that number during the entire Championship season – both teams are relegated by a gap in 2019.

Cooper has turned that poor offensive run into an average of 1.68 xGF in the regular season, while making the most of what his predecessor left behind – maintaining a 1.19-goal average expected was enough compared to (xGA).

Just Bournemouth denying them in the penultimate game of the season was enough to put Forest in the net, only for Bournemouth to deny them in the penultimate game of the season – a match where Forest scored on target. expectations (xG: BOU 0.47 – 1.34 FOR) but narrowly lost to send the Cherries up instead.

“They fought back and in a really compelling way,” Cooper said.

“The first goal is to get out of the relegation zone. And there was a time when I thought we weren’t making much progress here, and maybe we wouldn’t be in the top 10.

“Then, as soon as you’re in the top 10, you think ‘yes, top 10 now’, then you start hoping for the top six. It was April that really put us in there for the playoffs. -off.

“We never give up.”

With their development, they will now stop for a moment.