Nottingham Forest boss Cooper fumes with ref after Brighton defeat: He lost control

Nottingham Forest boss Steve Cooper hit out at match officials after defeat at home to Brighton.

Forest lost 3-2, with Brighton down to ten men for the final 25 minutes after Lewis Dunk’s dismissal.

“I don’t want to hide behind the fact we didn’t play well enough with the ball – particularly in the first half,” Cooper said. “That impacted on why we didn’t get the result we wanted.

“We got off to the perfect start and then just didn’t capitalise on it. We had loads of opportunity to play and loads of opportunity to play with more courage and belief than we did. We played with a technical team and we just didn’t do that.

“Brighton are a team which like the ball and play in front of you a lot, which they are good at. To give it back to them as much as we did and as soft as we did in the first half was really disappointing.

“First goal, there was no pressure on the ball. We give it away, the game’s open and they punish us. Second goal, because we were not getting control of the ball in the end you run the risk of giving away shots and crosses.

“It would be easy for me to hide behind an awful penalty decision but I’m not going to hide behind that – as bad as it was – because we’ve got to play better than we did in the first half.

“We did a lot better in the second half. We played with a bit more impetus and positivity.

“The decision for the penalty is one where, for me, if that is a penalty then you are going to give so many. In the international break you have time to think things through, and I’m really trying to think about how I want to be in the camp of supporting referees and helping the process. It is clearly having a massive negative impact on our game at the moment.

“I’m trying to say to myself, let’s not jump on the bandwagon, let’s try to be rational with how we think and our comments. But then we see that from Anthony, one of the top ones, and it’s hard to hold back.

“To think he’s given that penalty and then missed the one which got overturned (for Gibbs-White to score from), caused the animosity on the pitch and in the stadium. It’s where we’re at at the moment.

“We didn’t play well enough in the first half and that was a massive factor in why we didn’t get the result. The penalty decision was also a big factor in why we didn’t get the result. We’ve got to reflect on why we didn’t do as well as we should have done in the first half.

“He’s such a calm and composed and clear referee. You see the games he gets, not just in our country but outside as well. Did he lose control? He must have.”

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