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Steve Cooper not totally convinced by Nottingham Forest victory against Barnsley

Middlesbrough v Nottingham Forest – Sky Bet Championship – Riverside Stadium
(Image credit: Richard Sellers)

Nottingham Forest boss Steve Cooper demanded better standards from his players despite a 3-0 win over Barnsley equalling the club’s biggest home victory of the season.

Keinan Davis, Ryan Yates and Brennan Johnson all got on the scoresheet against bottom-of-the-table Barnsley, but tough taskmaster Cooper was not impressed with his team’s intensity.

The former Swansea boss said: “I was pleased with the result and enjoyed the goals, but I did not love the overall performance, particularly in the second half.

“We’re a much better team than what we showed and the result and performance did not really match up, even though we could have scored five or six goals.

“There were good bits like Djed Spence’s assist and Keinan (Davis) getting his goal. Jack Colback was also excellent, but we’re trying to raise standards collectively and, when the players fell short, I will tell them.

“You always look at three things after games: what went well, what could have been better and what needs to change for the next match and, while I’m not angry with the players, I’m looking forward to working on a few things before the next game.

“We did not show enough intensity at times and that started with (goalkeeper) Brice (Samba) not getting the ball back into play quickly enough, which had a knock-on effect to the rest of the team.”

Cooper took most pleasure from seeing 23-year-old striker Davis claim his first Forest goal since a January 1 loan move from Aston Villa.

He added: “His overall play has been good and he is getting fitter and fitter.

“He’s come here to play and score goals and he’s a handful to play against. We’ve got to try and create chances for him, although he created this one for himself and the most important thing is he is off the mark because, if he had gone a fourth game without scoring, that might have started to play on his mind.”

Barnsley assistant manager Ferran Sibila, filling in for absent boss Poya Asbaghi who is displaying Covid-19 symptoms, admitted that skipper Mads Andersen’s mistake for Davis’ 15th-minute goal proved the game’s turning point.

“We had a lot of players missing and out of position but we still had a plan and, before they scored, we showed the belief was there,” the Spanish coach said. “We were pressing well and had a good chance on the counter attack.

“I was really pleased with the performance up to the point when we had that unfortunate situation with Mads, who is a fantastic player who I admire for the way he trains and plays. But we gave that first goal to them and it changed the game.

“The belief went down after that and, while we have looked at the running stats and they show that the commitment was still there, the performance was not good enough.”

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