Steve Cooper defends Jesse Lingard’s slow start as Nottingham Forest fall to 2-0 defeat at Newcastle

Nottingham Forest boss Steve Cooper would not be drawn into criticising Jesse Lingard, but his use of the word ‘glimpses’ revealed how peripheral his marquee signing really was during a disappointing debut.

Cooper, whose side resisted well for an hour at Newcastle but ended up well beaten at 2-0, preferred to bemoan his team’s performance rather than focus on Lingard, who arrived on a free transfer with wages of £120,000-per-week this summer.

‘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.’

Cooper has spent £85million on 12 new players and it looks as if his side could take a little while to click yet, especially from an attacking perspective. They did not register a shot on target and one corner routine, where they had no players in the penalty area, has since been mocked on social media.

‘We fell short in our performance today, but we live and learn,’ said Cooper. ‘We were not right in possession, and there were not enough passes when we could get them off, and that ultimately cost us the two goals.

‘The way we gave up the ball in the play before the goals, that’s not the team I want us to be. Newcastle were the better team and deserved to win.

‘They had a lot of the ball and territory, and we’re OK with that, although we don’t want that too often if we can help it. We’ve felt the difference today, and it is a big difference, but we have to reflect quickly and get used to it.’

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    United have repeatedly insisted that Ronaldo is not for sale and will be part of their squad for the entire 2022-23 season. The Portugal captain has received very few offers from other clubs despite being offered out to the likes of Chelsea, Real Madrid and PSG.

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    “Ladies and gentlemen, I am fighting a pro boxer for my second fight, on the same night. I am fighting Swarmz and a Bulgarian boxer on the same night. Am I insane? Probably. Am I crazy? Probably. Is this ridiculous? Probably. But are you gonna watch it? Probably.”

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    “Manchester United, I believe, will be sold within the next 24 months, there are people circling,” Smith told talkSPORT.

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    “On a global income basis, nothing touches Manchester United, they’re in a league of their own.”

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    Further protests have reportedly been planned in advance of United’s next meeting with their Merseyside rivals at Old Trafford on Monday, with a number of fans set to stage a mass boycott of the event. It remains to be seen whether the Glazers will eventually decide to sell up over the coming months and years, with the external pressure on their shoulders only continuing to grow as time progresses.

    Click here to buy the new Man Utd home shirt.

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    “To all the people who admired my tennis and planning to visit the US tournaments, I ask to bring a Ukraine flag to all russian or bellorusian matches they watch,” Dolgopolov – who became a military volunteer when the war in Ukraine began – tweeted.

    “And I dare the @atptour @WTA to try this step again. Repost please”. The three-time title winner also shared an emotional message about the invasion of his home country as he continued: “Our country is drowning in blood and barbaric violence, no russian will bully a silent supporter wearing a Ukraine flag! Have some respect.”

    The tournament failed to respond to the initial issue in question – that a Russian player was unhappy with the presence of Lola’s flag – and it was noted that fans had brought American and Serbian flags over the size limit in the past.

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    After Wimbledon banned all Russian and Belarusian players from competing at the tournament this year and had their ranking points removed by the ATP and WTA as a sanction, he blasted the men’s tour and said: “Everyone has to feel [the sacrifice] because everyone in Ukraine is feeling it.

    “Our people, our children, are dying and you cannot just close your eyes and be silent and pretend nothing is happening. Everyone has to try and play their role to help and the ATP should have a stronger stance like many others sports. The magnitude of what is happening here is not [reflected] by their actions. Their actions are weaker.”

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Sport Steve Cooper defends Jesse Lingard's slow start as Nottingham Forest fall to 2-0 defeat at Newcastle