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EPL: Forest boss Steve Cooper delighted with win

Steve Cooper was delighted to see his Nottingham Forest side rise to the occasion and win their first home game back in the Premier League since relegation in 1999 when they beat West Ham United 1-0 on Sunday.

“You could sense probably since we were promoted that everyone was waiting for the first home game. We knew it was a very important day,” Cooper said.

“There were two things today. There was the occasion and the football match. We had to deal with both.”

Taiwo Awoniyi marked his home debut with a first-half strike while goalkeeper Dean Henderson saved a penalty from West Ham’s Declan Rice to ensure Forest came away with all three points in their first home Premier League match in more than two decades.

Cooper, 42, took over at Forest when they were bottom of the second-tier Championship and led them to the playoff final, where they beat Huddersfield Town to end their 23-year wait for top-flight football.

“In terms of the game, I was so happy with our attitude and confidence going into the first half, the atmosphere was amazing anyway but that raised it even more,” Cooper said. “We deserved to win the game and it was important we did.”

Forest were English champions in 1978 under Brian Clough and went on to win the European Cup in 1979 and 1980 but had struggled to find their way out of the Championship since getting relegated in 1999.

Read Also: JUST-IN: Awoniyi nets as Nottingham Forest pip West Ham in EPL clash

Cooper, who transformed their campaign last season, dedicated the win to Forest supporters — especially those who missed it.

“There were three generations of supporters here today,” he said. “One who could remember the really good old days, a new generation for whom this was the first Premier League game they have seen, and the ones in between.

“We had to represent all of those people. What I would like to do is dedicate the win to the supporters who could not get a ticket today.”

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