Steve Cooper feels that a new-looking Nottingham Forest needs time to build some cohesion, but agrees that he has to find ways to increase his score.
After gaining promotion to the Premier League via the Sky Bet league play-offs, Forest signed 22 summer signings, with Jesse Lingard and Morgan Gibbs-White among the high profile arrivals.
But a fortnight after wasting a two-goal lead by losing 3-2 at home to Bournemouth, it was a case of family failures at the City Ground on Friday night when Forest went 1-0 to Fulham before losing 3- 2 .
Cooper acknowledges their shortcomings but acknowledges that time is not on their side after slipping to four straight losses, which leaves them firmly entrenched in the relegation zone of the top flight.
The Forest coach said: “It’s something I talked about with the guys. It’s not that we’re not aware of it. And we challenged each other: how do you become a team?
“Whether it’s our tactical ideas, our unity, our spirit, whether it’s pushing each other, that comes when you have real trust in each other and trust is built in time.
“We’ve lost four games on the rebound now and it’s not good at any stage. During the process of becoming a team, I have no illusions, we need to collect more points than we have.
“It is one thing to be patient but at the same time we have to make sure we improve. First of all it depends on me and we will do our best to do it ”.
Cooper sidelined Lingard and club captain Joe Worrall on Friday night, but the inclusion of Taiwo Awoniyi reaped an almost immediate reward when he returned home to give Forest a lead he held until the second half.
But Tosin Adarabioyo’s 54th-minute draw turned the tide as Fulham scored twice more before the hour with duo of midfielders Joao Palhinha and Harrison Reed on the scoresheet, which meant a Lewis O’Brien goal, one of the numerous Forest substitutes like Cooper’s gone all the time, it was just a consolation.
Reflecting on his starting XI, Cooper said: “I know we have suffered three again, but I felt there was a need for some changes in terms of improving the pace in the team and not conceding a goal.
“I’m not saying it was up to Joe (Worrall) in any way, shape or form, but we tried to make some changes to help and he seemed okay at times, but then those five minutes cost us.
“My job is always to choose a team that can win a football match and we didn’t.”
Fulham go to the international break in great form, with Reed’s first goal for the club scoring their third win in seven games since promotion as championship winner.
Coach Marco Silva said: “It was great to see Harrison score his first goal for Fulham.
“The pressure on him to score is really hard because I ask him different things, playing in different areas of the pitch, playing much higher even with the ball.
“Seeing our number six arrive when he scored that goal shows our philosophy, it also shows our ambition as a team.”