Nottingham Forest made their first appearance back in the Premier League after 23 years away against Newcastle United this afternoon at St James’ Park, but it wasn’t the fairytale start that Steve Cooper would have wanted.
The Reds lost 2-0 to their hosts, with a number of new signings making their debut in red after a busy transfer window saw Forest securing deals for 12 players so far, but the squad’s shake-up wasn’t enough to help them to a first point of the campaign today.
Despite the defeat, Forest were stubborn and resilient in their performance on Tyneside, holding off the Magpies’ relentless attack on their goal throughout the first half.
Overall, Forest made 33 clearances, winning more interceptions and more aerial duels than their hosts, proving that they are capable of putting in the hard work to try and repel attacking threats.
However, their dogged defensive play was not enough to hold off the attacking prowess of Newcastle, as they were eventually broken down in the 58th minute when Fabian Schar hit a wonder strike from 25 yards, which was followed up by a goal from Callum Wilson 20 minutes later to seal a 2-0 home win.
One player who may have been expected to deliver a leading performance today is Jesse Lingard, but unfortunately the former Manchester United ace failed to hit the ground running for Cooper this afternoon on his competitive Forest debut after his summer move to the City Ground.
The midfielder, who is reportedly earning £80k-p/w at the club, lost all seven of his duels, failed with 100% of his dribble attempts, made no tackles, took no shots and lost the ball every 4.2 touches (Sofascore), which will surely frustrate the Forest manager as he took a chance on the 29-year-old.
As per Sofascore, the former England international was the lowest-rated player to line out for the visitors this afternoon as he failed to make a good first impression with his new club.
Lingard has been the recipient of much criticism following his move to the Reds, and despite his efforts, he will now likely be the target of further questioning following his uninspiring performance against Newcastle.
However, as with any new signing, it could just take him a few weeks to get his feet under the table.
Cooper may not be overly concerned about losing away to one of the highest point-scoring teams in the Premier League over 2022, but the manager will not want to rest on his laurels, and it will be interesting to see if any more new signings appear at the City Ground between now and the September 1st deadline.