Nottingham Forest’s Premier League return has started with defeat after losing 2-0 away at Newcastle United on Saturday afternoon.
Forest fans will have been in buoyant mood on the trip to the North East, ready for the club’s first Premier League game in more than 20 years.
Sadly, Newcastle taught Forest a bit of a lesson with a dominant performance at St James’ Park.
Fabian Schar’s thunderbolt gave Newcastle the lead after creating a host of openings before Callum Wilson nipped in for number two.
Forest had just 38% of possession and five shots, with none on target. Newcastle had 23 shots with 10 on target, which was just unsustainable for Forest.
This was a learning curve for Steve Cooper and co; Forest have made plenty of signings but getting them to gel and impose themselves on games against established Premier League teams will still be a test.
The season is a marathon and not a sprint, so one defeat against a Newcastle side riding the crest of a wave isn’t a disaster.
Still, Cooper needs to find a way to get the best out of his new recruits and get Forest moving forward, starting with next weekend’s game against West Ham United.
Being back in front of the City Ground faithful, Forest will have hope of much better next week.
Former Premier League boss Tim Sherwood has now had his say on Forest’s performance, telling Sky Sports that Cooper’s men just didn’t have the belief to win the game.
Sherwood, speaking after the full-time whistle at St James’ Park, suggested that Newcastle’s defenders pretty much had a ‘day off’ because Forest lacked quality going forward.
Sherwood added that Forest can’t play this badly again this season and thinks that Cooper will have ultimately learned a lot, whilst urging the Forest players to be a little braver against Premier League opposition.
“The Newcastle defenders had a day off today, Pope hardly made a save,” said Sherwood. “They kept going, Forest, but they really lacked quality and belief really, certainly in the first half, I don’t think they really believed that they could compete.”
“Second half they did a little bit better and threw some bodies forward but they’re going to have to improve and Steve Cooper knows that.”
“The hope I can give them is that they are never going to play as bad as that, they’re going to improve. They’ve had a look at it now, the manager has learnt a lot from being in the arena. It’s a different ball game, this isn’t the Championship where you can get away with mistakes, you have to be on your game, you have to take your chances, you have to be a little bit braver I would suggest,” he added.