New Nottingham Forest head coach Steve Cooper says he won’t be daunted by the club’s recent tumultuous record for sacking managers after taking charge at the City Ground and is “all in” for the challenge that lies ahead.
The former Swansea boss becomes Forest’s 11th different manager in seven years and the two-time European champions have appointed a new incumbent every year since 2010.
Cooper, who twice led Swansea into the Championship play-offs before leaving in the summer, replaces Chris Hughton who was sacked with Forest bottom of the Championship, having failed to win in 13 league matches.
But Cooper has promised to embrace the challenge in the East Midlands rather than concern himself with the previous instability.
“I’m only looking forward, I’ll always have respect for the past and respect for any manager that’s had a go at any club and it’s tough. I’ve had a go myself for a couple of years and it’s a really really challenging job in a difficult league,” Cooper told Sky Sports News.
“But you’ve got to look forward and you’ve got to think about what you can do rather than what you can’t do and you’ve got to back yourself to do it.
“It depends on your mindset – if you’re a positive guy and you think you can do things then that’s a different outlook to the opposite. The reality is you take any job in management and it can go any way, that depends on the job that you do, but my outlook is a positive one, I’ve made a decision I really believe in and I’m going to go for it.”
The constant churn in the dugout has naturally been accompanied by regular transition within the playing squad, but new chief executive Dane Murphy is intent on changing that approach.
Murphy was integral in reshaping the Barnsley squad that transformed from narrowly avoiding relegation to reaching the Championship play-off semi-finals before being beaten by Cooper’s Swansea last season.
When Cooper left the Welsh club in August a statement said it “felt like a good time for both parties to make a change” but he believes he and Forest have a similar vision for their future.
“When I spoke to Dane about where he wants to take the club and the vision for it, I’ve bought in and here I am really excited about the future and what can happen, and fully committed to try and make it as successful as we can,” Cooper added.
“I didn’t leave the last place thinking about what next. They’re not joined up, the decisions – this is a separate decision.
“I had an excellent time at Swansea. I was very grateful and I left on excellent terms but a bit of time has passed and I’m privileged and honoured to be part of such a historic club and firmly committed to being successful.
“The direction with Dane is a modern approach with a creative fluid team, some good young players that can play in a style the fans can represent with and that’s what we’re going to do.”
“First and foremost I’m a winner, so of course I want the team to play attractive football. I want to see creative players in the team but I also want the team to work hard and stand up and be counted, but at the end I’m a real competitor.
“I knew if I was going to get back in as quick as this, it would probably be a team that had to improve its league position.”
Wednesday 29th September 7:40pm