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Steve Cooper hails Nottingham Forest captain Lewis Grabban

Birmingham City v Nottingham Forest – Sky Bet Championship – St. Andrew’s
(Image credit: Bradley Collyer)

Nottingham Forest head coach Steve Cooper heaped praise on captain Lewis Grabban after the 33-year-old scored the opener in the Reds’ 3-0 win over Birmingham.

Grabban and Ryan Yates stormed Cooper’s side into a two-goal lead in the first half before Djed Spence netted his first goal in a year to earn the Reds their first win at St Andrews since 2015.

Cooper now has two wins from his opening three games since taking charge of the club and earned the club back-to-back away victories for the first time since February.

Grabban’s fourth goal in his last six games was the start of a resounding performance by the away side and Cooper was full of praise for his captain’s performance.

He said: “He’s a really good player, he’s proven. He doesn’t need loads of information from me, just needs a bit of support and belief. He’s done it for years now.

“Led the line really well, brilliant goal, disappointed he didn’t get the one that could have put us three up quicker. But he’s a great presence on the pitch, knows the role well and he’s been a real captain at the moment,” Cooper continued.

“Brilliant goal. You actually fancied him to score the one that he didn’t get right, but as soon as it left his foot, you just thought ‘goal’. He looked a real threat today, he managed the game well in terms of the turnovers. Even sometimes when he’s not getting the ball, he’s occupying centre-backs which allows Brennan to get in.”

For Lee Bowyer, his Blues side are now winless in five and only sit four points above the relegation zone after their impressive start to the season.

He said: “Fine margins. Keep saying that over the last few games. We’re the team that starts on top and create chances but we’re not taking the chances. All the keepers are making great saves, (we’re) hitting the post.

“The first goal in these games are so important and we just can’t get it at the moment. Again, they go and score against the run of play, same as QPR the other night.

“When we’re in possession, for me, we looked too soft. We’re conceding the same goals every game and it’s something I’ve got to fix.

“In possession, again, I thought there was some great play. We’ve had like 18 shots, nine on target and we ain’t scored a goal. We just need a little break somewhere but you have to earn it. Forest looked hungrier than what we did at times defensively and that’s why they kept a clean sheet and we didn’t.

“Every time the ball goes up to Jutkiewicz, I see someone fighting with him and manhandling him. He didn’t get a foul, which he should have done every time. I see Grabban just bringing balls down with ease. It’s too easy. The third goal is exactly the same goal as the other night.

“I’m guessing this is the reason why this football club has been down at the bottom the last three or four years. Because you defend like that, you’re going to be down the bottom and it’s happened too many times last few games. So I have to fix it,” he said.