Nottingham Forest owner Evangelos Marinakis has given Steve Cooper his backing amid rumours the manager’s job was at risk.
A 2-1 defeat at Leeds on Tuesday night cast doubt over the Welshman’s status at the City Ground, with a fourth straight Premier League loss on the road leaving Forest above the bottom three on goal difference alone.
But a statement from Marinakis on Wednesday read: “No one denies that our club is in a difficult position in the Premier League, but we wish to end the speculation and the false and disruptive reporting in the media to confirm that Steve Cooper remains our manager at Nottingham Forest.
“We have all been disappointed with recent performances and it is very clear that a lot of hard work needs to be done to address this urgently. Results and performances must improve immediately.
“Now is the time for everyone connected with our club – from us as owners, to the board, our supporters, backroom staff, coaches and players – to come together and fight to secure our status in the Premier League.
“There can be no time for distractions, rumours and speculation. There is only time for hard work, determination, a commitment from Steve and the players to getting the results we need and, of course, the continued magnificent support of the fans of Nottingham Forest.”
Cooper, who guided Forest to promotion to the top flight with victory in last season’s Sky Bet Championship play-off final, signed a new contract in October 2022 despite facing speculation he would be sacked as the club struggled to pick up points. Results improved but their recent eight-game winless run has seen the spectre of relegation return to haunt the Nottingham outfit once more.
Asked if he was worried about his position after Tuesday’s reverse at Elland Road, Cooper said: “I respect the question and I understand it 100 per cent, but I’m not that guy that thinks like that.
“I always think of the greater good of the club, so any sort of worry, disappointment, frustration I’m feeling right now is the fact that Forest have lost a game they could have done so much better in.
“That’s just the way I’m wired. I’ve trained myself just to focus on the stuff I can control and work as hard as I can every single day, believe in my work and stay true to it. That’s just where I’m at.”