Nottingham Forest boss Steve Cooper has revealed his side will attack the Championship play-offs “like we have done every game this season” after they missed out on automatic promotion through defeat to Bournemouth last night.
A victory at the Vitality Stadium would’ve taken Forest above the Cherries and into second on goal difference ahead of the final day of the season but Kieffer Moore’s second-half strike handed the home side a victory that gives them an unassailable six-point lead and confirms their promotion back to the top flight.
The Reds remain third and have already booked their place in the play-offs while they will face whoever finishes sixth as long as they can equal or better Huddersfield Town’s result on Saturday.
Speaking to Sky Sports after the game, Cooper revealed how his side would approach things.
“We’ve done some good things over the last weeks and months,” said the Welsh coach. “We need to take a lot of heart from it, a lot of encouragement, and put it to the best use possible for the play-offs.
“I know how hard it is to get into the play-offs, I’ve tried it a couple of times before and we did it with four games to go but we weren’t settling for that. We didn’t really talk about it to be honest because we had all eyes on this game tonight.
“Play-offs it is and we’ll attack it like we have done every game this season, with intent to do well, with intent to win, with intent to do it our way, and we’ll see where it takes us.”
Sheffield United, Luton Town, Middlesbrough, and Millwall are the four sides that the Reds could potentially face in the play-off semi-final.
Forest fans should love to hear this positivity from Cooper and it’s necessary as they can’t dwell on the disappointment of missing out on automatic promotion.
Even a top-six finish marks a phenomenal turnaround for the Reds under their manager as they were bottom of the Championship when he took charge in September.
He’s made the play-offs in the past two seasons – losing in first the semi-finals and then the final – and Forest fans will be hoping he can go all the way this time around.
Sticking to the game plan that has worked so well this term does seem like the best approach and judging by Cooper’s comments, that’s exactly what Forest are planning to do.