Nottingham Forest are back in the Premier League for the first time since the 1998-1999 season. They finished 20th in their last top-flight season and a return after 23 years will please the fans.
They are a historically big club, having won two European Championships in the late 19th century. Steve Cooper took charge of the club in September 2021 and has done an incredible job since in guiding them back to the Premier League this season.
They are desperate to hang on to their Premier League status, as can be seen by their expansive spending in the summer market. Forest has signed a staggering 13 new players to revamp the squad and make it ready for the Premier League.
While it is often difficult for promoted teams to stay afloat in England’s top division, Forest seem to have done all they could to provide their manager with ammunition to survive the Premier League.
Here we will look at three goals that the club will look to achieve during the 2022-2023 season.
Forest’s primary goal will be to avoid relegation
Despite signing 13 new players, not much is expected of Forest this season. Moreover, players will also need time to adjust and gel as a team. After waiting 23 years for the moment, Forest’s main goal will be to survive in the Premier League this season.
They can draw inspiration from the likes of Sheffield United, Brentford, and Leeds United, who survived the Premier League with absurd ease in their first season back at the top.
Forest’s record of conceding only 40 goals in the Championship was the second-best record in the tier two league last season. They also banged in 73 strikes (third-highest in the Championship).
Cooper’s men will draw inspiration from these numbers and back themselves to deliver in the Premier League this season.
Creating chemistry within the squad
Fans love the transfer window. Forest fans have certainly have enjoyed the summer window with the club bringing in 13 new players. However, buying several new players can also cause problems.
Players need time to understand each other’s game and gel together. Forest were a cohesive unit last season and revamping their squad could backfire. Fulham were guilty of doing the same a few seasons back, which saw them get relegated.
Cooper will be wary of such issues and will no doubt want to work his boys hard to build chemistry in the squad.
Players like Dean Henderson, Moussa Niakhate, Neco Williams, and Jesse Lingard add much-needed experience to the squad. However, with so many talented players in the team, Cooper will have a tough time picking a starting XI, which could lead to more issues within the squad.
Being adaptable to a situation
Philosophies are important in football. Managers like Daniel Farke, Marcelo Bielsa, Chris Wilder and maybe even Thomas Frank entered the league with their set visions.
However, at times, being adaptable is also important. Sometimes, teams don’t have the players to execute the necessary tactics, and sometimes the opposition is already aware of such philosophies.
In such cases, managers have to learn and evolve. They have to sacrifice their vision for the sake of the team’s survival.
A prime example was Norwich City, who played some brilliant expansive football in the Championship. However, it was not enough to carve open Premier League sides. The Canaries refused to adapt and paid the price by getting relegated on multiple occasions.
Cooper’s philosophy can be linked somewhat to what Antonio Conte deploys in his teams, with a 3-4-3 formation. This defensive structure should help Forest concede less and survive the league.
What is good about Cooper’s management is that should this ploy fail to work, he has shown adaptability to adjust his tactics and his formation. Surivival comes first for Forest, and Cooper will possibly do anything to achieve that.