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Nottingham Forest boss Steve Cooper says the speculation surrounding his future has not affected belief in his method.

Cooper was reported to be close to the sack as a seven-game winless run plummeted Forest back into relegation trouble, but owner Evangelos Marinakis publicly backed his manager 24 hours after the midweek defeat to Leeds.

The Welshman, widely regarded to be one of the best young coaches in the game, insists he has remained strong-minded and believes now is the time to have even more belief in his philosophy.

“All the experiences that I’ve had since I’ve gone into first-team football at Swansea and then here, everything makes you better,” he said.

“Everything makes you stronger. There are a lot of experiences you need to become a real manager and that only comes through living and breathing certain phases.

“That is my outlook. Whatever you get, good, bad or indifferent, it’s good for me.

“I’m never as good as a newspaper article or as bad as a newspaper article – that’s why I don’t read it. I really believe that.

“I just focus on what does the next training session look like, what player do I need to speak to, what player needs this, needs that, what might the next game plan look like. That is a big enough challenge as it is and takes up enough of my thinking.

“I don’t let anything else… and I am strong-minded like that and I’m glad I am like that. Maybe I wouldn’t be here now if I wasn’t.

“Stay true to yourself. I’ve been coaching professionally for over 20 years and I’ve built up something I really believe in. Now is not the time to come away from that, now is the time to believe it even more.

“A real mindset, philosophy, way of working for me is more for the challenging times than the good times, so let’s live and breathe it.”

Forest are part of one of the tightest relegation fights in recent memory with eight teams separated by five points.

But they have a tough run of fixtures to contend with as they face games with Aston Villa, Manchester United, Liverpool, Brighton and Brentford before the end of the month.

And Cooper says it is imperative that they take matters into their own hands.

“We’ve just got to keep going, there’s loads of teams,” he said. “It’s in our hands.

“I guess it’s exciting that so many teams are in it. Usually there’s three or four teams in it.

“We’re not losing against Leeds and thinking how did the other teams do. Ok, you look at it but you’re not looking at other results. That is the wrong mentality to have and you end up tying yourself in knots about what might be.

“Focus on yourselves, we’re in control of that and commit everything to that and nothing else.”