Nottingham Forest fans need to be patient, says James Coppinger
JAMES Coppinger says Nottingham Forest need unity if they are to succeed in the Championship – and has appealed for fans to remain patient if they don't always play flowing, attacking football.
Sean O'Driscoll's side adopted a considered, defensive approach against a Hull City side that have torn apart many teams this season.
And, while they successfully limited the Tigers' attacking threat, it also caused frustration in the stands, where some fans were quick to voice their dissatisfaction in a game that ended in a 2-1 loss.
Coppinger admitted the negative atmosphere around the City Ground had influenced the players. But he also assured supporters the squad share their ambitions for the future – and appealed for them to remain positive.
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"When I was playing for other sides, we used to say the same thing every time we came here. We knew that when you came to the City Ground, to a big atmosphere and a big stadium, you had to keep them quiet for ten or 20 minutes – then the fans would get frustrated," he said.
"Then, as an opposition side, you would exploit that, you would build on that frustration. That is what many teams do when they come here.
"Opposition sides bank up and make it hard for you to break them down. As players, it is so important for you to be mentally strong and tough. We cannot get influenced by the crowd.
"We understand their frustration, we do. But at the same time, we are trying to win matches. This is a club with a great history. Great players have been at this club. That is what we are trying to get back to.
"The manager and the players are trying to get the club back to where it has been. If the fans stick with the players, it will benefit the team."
Coppinger says Forest will have to put defence before attack against some sides in the Championship this season.
"As a player, you can't help but notice when the crowd gets frustrated. It is important to have strong characters and good mental strength to stick with your game plan," he said.
"We did that in the first half. It might not have been pretty or exciting, but we limited them to very few chances.
"They had very few chances, if any at all – and that is what we have to look at as players. We tried to limit their opportunities and we did that.
"The fans want to see great football, lots of goals and action – that is what they pay their money for. But we are trying to progress as a club and players and hopefully we can do that together.
"We have to accept what happened and move on, as a team. If everyone sticks together, this club can do really well."