What Nottingham Forest boss Steve Cooper said after epic play-off clash with Sheffield United is booked in

Manager Steve Cooper insists Nottingham Forest are “in great shape” after the 1-1 draw at Hull teed up a Sky Bet Championship play-off clash with Sheffield United.

Saturday, 7th May 2022, 4:22 pm

Huddersfield’s victory at home to Bristol City means fourth-placed Forest must now return to Yorkshire next Saturday and the Blades secured their fifth-placed finish with an emphatic 4-0 win over champions Fulham at Bramall Lane.

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Cooper said: “We go into the play-offs feeling really good about ourselves.

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Nottingham Forest's Brennan Johnson scores the opening goal against Hull City during the Sky Bet Championship match at the MKM Stadium. Tim Goode/PA Wire.

“We are looking forward to it. We wanted to finish third, but to come from bottom of the league to fourth place is great.

“We look forward to the game – two big stadiums, two big clubs and two passionate groups of supporters.

“You’ve got to get excited about it. We gave automatic (promotion) a really good go and, by going for that, we secured a play-off place with maybe three or four games to go.

Steve Cooper, Manager of Nottingham Forest reacts during the Sky Bet Championship match between Hull City and Nottingham Forest at KCOM Stadium (Photo by Nigel Roddis/Getty Images)

“It’s an unbelievable achievement and it shows how good these guys have been.

“I’m disappointed not to win – that’s just me – but I’m naturally not naive or narrow-minded. I know that we go into the play-offs in great shape.”

Cooper made seven changes to the side that lost at Bournemouth earlier this week and it looked to have worked when substitute Brennan Johnson scored from the penalty spot in stoppage time.

But Hull were good value for a point and deservedly scored two minutes later when Lewie Coyle’s firm cross from the right found the back of the net.

Cooper said: “The game was just an OK one. We didn’t show enough threat or creativity in the final third – we just didn’t show enough on the day.

“We needed to step up that part of the game and change the rhythm and variety of the attack.

“The game opened up. We get the breakthrough and take it. But then the bigger picture is, we were able to change the team.

“It’s not a disaster, fourth place, where we’ve been. We weren’t thinking about who we might play in the play-offs – it doesn’t matter who you play. It’s a challenge for everybody.

“We’re really happy that we are preparing for the play-offs instead of going on our holidays.

“We go into the next phase with even more motivation to do well. Succeeding in life is about taking the opportunity and seizing the moment.”