by Daniel Widdowson
Firstly, a disclaimer. The opinions expressed in this article are based on nothing other than Steve Cotterill’s performance during early interviews and his first match in charge of the club. However, I do feel the transformation in the team was so great that this article needed writing and my sense of optimism to be aired.
So, on with the fun. Tuesday 18th 2011… the day Nottingham forest’s season turned around to face the league head on again? Okay maybe that’s possibly overstating the point but the performance given by the players during the match against Middlesbrough was nothing short of brilliant. In comparison to the football under Steve McClaren it was simply amazing. For once it was rare to see opposition players breaking into the box, and even less likely that a dangerous ball would come into the box. The motivation seemed to be back in the squad, everyone knew what they were supposed to be doing, and more importantly, players weren’t afraid to track back and challenge for every ball. Whether it be players wanting to impress the new manager, or just simply a greater emphasis on training within the club no one will know. However, there are a few key moments in the match that sum up the match from Forest eyes. The first goal, an excellent goal made as a team. The build-up play was patient and the passes spot on. Essentially, it showed that forest are able to know where teammates are, and pass to them! Secondly, and obviously, the second goal – again some decent build up play and a few wild shots and blocks, however when the ball fell to McGugan it was clear he only had eyes for goal, and he confidently struck it in the back of the net. A task which would have seemed impossible under McClaren. Accompanying these goals where countless chances in the first half and some solid defending from the whole team early in the second half. All in all a solid performance from a team that looked like it was fresh from pre-season and full of confidence.
He knew where he wanted players, commanded from the touchline but also motivated them to keep getting stuck in.
A quick word about the man off the field too. I said in my last article that I believed Cotterill could motivate the team and give us a chance to push up the table, but hadn’t seen too much about his style when he’s on the touchline. Well judging by Tuesday’s game, he’s exactly what Nottingham Forest need. He knew where he wanted players, commanded from the touchline but also motivated them to keep getting stuck in. He was constantly making notes and ensuring that players knew what he expected. As I also said last time, the fans needed to get behind the club. And they certainly did. The support for the team was immense and clearly showed how Forest fans will always rally behind their team if they see the potential that they clearly possess.
All in all a solid first game for Steve Cotterill. Whilst that’s all it is – one game – it showed great potential for the future. If he’s able to further drive this club on, motivate the players and continue to press on to achieve the ambitions of the club I see no reason why he cannot be a great success at Nottingham forest. Steve Cotterill… Welcome to Nottingham Forest football club.