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Nottingham Forest boss Steve Cooper saw growth in his side as they rallied to beat Sheffield United late on.

Forest looked like being held by the Blades after Taiwo Awoniyi’s third-minute opener was cancelled out by Gus Hamer’s delightful strike shortly after half-time.

But Chris Wood, whose loan move from Newcastle was made permanent in the summer, came up with the goods in the 89th minute when he headed home to seal a 2-1 victory and get his side’s Premier League campaign up and running.

Cooper does not think his side would have won that fixture last season and praised his side’s mentality.

“The last sort of 30 minutes of the game I thought we were by far the superior team, played high up the pitch, played good football, and created real dangerous moments in the game,” Cooper said.

“We took the game to try and win it. Of course we were by far the better team, of course we deserved to win, but I really liked the attitude of the team in getting over the line and getting the goal late on.

“I’m not sure we win that game last year at times, especially at the start of the season. It reminded me a little bit of (the 3-2 home defeats against) Fulham and Bournemouth, so hopefully that is a bit of growth in the mentality of the team.

“I really liked how we stuck to the task, there was only one team who deserved to win tonight.

“We took our foot off the pedal and gave Sheffield United a chance in the game. I am really glad we regrouped and did what we did in the last 30 minutes.”

The Blades have now lost their opening two games on their return to the top flight after two seasons away.

But they may feel hard done by as, after overcoming a chastening first 30 minutes, they competed well and had chances to take the lead when the score was 1-1.

Paul Heckingbottom’s side are a work in progress after their preparations for the season were hit by the sale of star players Sander Berge and Iliman Ndiaye, meaning recruitment is still going on.

The Blades boss is confident players will come in, but knows the current situation is hurting their chances.

“I just feel for the players a little bit because they deserved more this,” he said.

“If you sign players in June or July, you have two or three months with them by the end of August. If you sign them in August you are looking at September, October into November before you are really happy.

“It is something I have prepared for. I wish we weren’t doing it in the Premier League, but it can’t scare us, it can’t be an excuse.

“There is a commitment to get the players in, we will get them in, but it’s tough.

“It’s tough recruiting, we could go and get one tomorrow, but it wouldn’t be the one I want. I am playing my part in that, part of my brief is to develop players and make money for the club as well.

“I have to believe in a player and he has to be able to come and add. We will get them, I just wish we had them.

“But it’s no one fault, we can’t control when clubs come and take our players. Circumstances have meant we have been vulnerable.”