Steve Cooper explains the “important” role of Nottingham Forest ace Lewis Grabban
Steve Cooper hailed fantastic captain Lewis Grabban for his influence on and off the pitch as Nottingham Forest won 3-0 at Birmingham City.
The leader put the Reds on track at St Andrew’s with a fabulous strike, and could have added even more to his tally as he has scored four goals in six games.
Ryan Yates and Djed Spence also took the stage on an exhilarating afternoon in the West Midlands for Cooper.
But after struggling early in the season, Grabban is in a rich vein in form – with Forest reaping the reward as they made him four unbeaten.
“It’s not rocket science, for sure,” Cooper said of the leader’s firing. “We got him back in shape this week, that’s the main thing.
“He’s a very good player, he’s proven it. He doesn’t need a lot of information from me, he just needs a little bit of support and a little bit of conviction because he’s been doing it for years now.
“He led the line really well and scored a brilliant goal. He will be disappointed not to have obtained the one that could have put us a little faster at three.
“He’s very present on the pitch, knows the role well and is a real captain right now.
“We definitely feared it in previous years, facing Forest. He wasn’t always in good shape for the games, but we knew everything about him and we worked a lot on it.
“I knew a lot about Lewis and what he could do. It’s nice to be able to have it as an advantage for me now.
“We have to take care of him. He’s over 30 now, but he’s still in great shape.
“I spent a lot of time getting to know him as a captain and I attached great importance to the role of captain. I love the way he does it, on and off the pitch.
Grabban has been criticized by some fans in the past for his leadership style.
But Cooper says he hasn’t been shy about choosing him to keep the armband since taking over last month.
“I’m just impatient,” said the Welshman. “What happened before, I have nothing but respect for. But I’m only interested from the moment we walk in and can’t wait.
“That’s how I see it.
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“I hope we can continue to build on this, like all the other good things we’ve done right now, while trying to improve some of the things that need to be improved.
“It was a brilliant goal. Unbelievable.
“In fact, you thought he was marking the one he didn’t quite understand. But as soon as he left his foot, you just thought “goal.”
“He looked like a real threat today. He handled the game well, in terms of turnovers. Even when he doesn’t get the ball back, he’s occupying center-backs, allowing Brennan (Johnson) to come in.
“In position today, I thought we were excellent – and we were good for all three goals.”