Steve Cooper has defended Jesse Lingard after Nottingham Forest lost 2-0 to Newcastle United on Saturday afternoon.

Forest played their first Premier League game in over 20 years on Saturday with fans understandably in buoyant mood ahead of the game.

Yet it proved to be a steep learning curve for Forest as they were comfortably beaten by Eddie Howe’s Magpies.

Fabian Schar’s piledriver and a smart Callum Wilson finish gave Newcastle a 2-0 win that could, in all honesty, have been much heavier.

Forest didn’t really impose themselves on the game and couldn’t lay a glove on Newcastle, starting the campaign with a defeat.

Steve Cooper has defended Jesse Lingard

39% of possession, five shots and none on target… it wasn’t a vintage performance going forward for Forest.

Steve Cooper will expect more from everybody in the final third moving forward, but it’s no shock that the attention has turned to Lingard.

Lingard joined Forest on a free transfer this summer and was given a lucrative deal to make the switch after his Manchester United deal ended.

Many expected Lingard to re-join West Ham United but Forest won the race, meaning big things are expected of him this season.

It didn’t quite work for Lingard at Newcastle on Saturday, with the stats hardly impressive.

Lingard registered one key pass, one interception, 24 passes and was dispossessed three times.

Newcastle United v Nottingham Forest - Premier League
(Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt – AMA/Getty Images)

It just didn’t go to plan for Forest on the whole, but pundits and media outlets will of course turn the focus onto Lingard.

Cooper was unsurprisingly asked about Lingard after the final whistle and defended his summer signing.

Cooper suggested to the Daily Mail that Lingard showed plenty of attitude and commitment to the Forest cause, so has no concerns about that.

The Welshman added that Lingard showed ‘glimpses’ of his quality but Forest just didn’t do a good enough job of getting the ball to him, believing that is something to improve upon moving forward.

“I haven’t got a problem with our attitude and commitment. We looked OK physically and never gave in,” said Cooper. “Jesse Lingard was an example of the team (in that regard).”

“He worked hard and did his best but, as a team, we didn’t get the ball to him or get enough bodies around him. He showed glimpses of his ability. He will be important for us going forward, we just need to be better with the ball,” he added.

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