Soccer-Fulham thrash Forest 5-0 to pile pressure on Cooper


Soccer Football - Premier League - Fulham v Nottingham Forest - Craven Cottage, London, Britain - December 6, 2023 Nottingham Forest's Chris Wood in action with Fulham's Calvin Bassey and Tom Cairney Action Images via Reuters/Paul Childs

LONDON (Reuters) -Fulham mowed down Nottingham Forest in a 5-0 win on a freezing Wednesday night in west London, dropping the visitors closer to the Premier League relegation zone and piling pressure on their manager Steve Cooper.

Forest have now lost four games in a row and have won only once in their last 11, and their defeat at Craven Cottage saw them drop to 16th in the table, while the home side climbed provisionally to 12th.

"A great team performance, a great result for us. The clean sheet and some really nice goals as well, in the way we built them," Fulham manager Marco Silva told reporters.

Fulham took the lead on the half-hour with Willian whipping in a cross from the left and Alex Iwobi leaping forward to tap the ball in past Forest keeper Odysseas Vlachodimos.

Raul Jimenez doubled the lead four minutes later, latching on to a quick-fire pass from Andreas Pereira on the edge of the box and flicking his shot up and over Vlachodimos into the top right corner.

Forest, who have not won at Fulham since 1967, struggled to put together any decent moves forward. Their best attempt of the half came from Divock Origi on his first start for the visitors, with a shot from distance that whistled past the outside of the post.

Iwobi very nearly made it three for Fulham in the dying moments of the half when he whipped a shot just over the bar.

Fulham continued to swarm forward at the start of the second half and the pressure paid off in the 54th minute when Jimenez muscled his way past Forest defender Ola Aina and skipped sideways past Vlachodimos before back-heeling the ball into the net.

Iwobi got his second goal in the 73rd minute, lashing in a cross from substitute Harry Wilson, before captain Tom Cairney made it 5-0 in the 86th, running forward unchallenged and coolly slotting the ball past the hapless Vlachodimos.

Despite the heavy loss, Cooper and his players were raucously cheered and applauded by their fans, who chanted Cooper's name, when they walked over to acknowledge their support after the match.

"It was painful tonight, obviously. We completely came away from the technical and tactical levels for this league," Cooper told reporters. "We technically let ourselves down and there was a lack of desire to defend."

He also felt he had no right to receive the loud support of the travelling fans.

"It's embarrassing, I don't deserve it (the fans' support) -- though I'm very grateful," he said.

Cooper accepted that speculation was bound to grow over his job but declined to join in, saying he was fully focused on his job.

"They're the normal questions to ask (about his future), but I probably think about that the least. What I think about is what's important for the football club," he said.

Forest next travel to Wolves on Saturday, while Fulham host West Ham on Sunday.

(Reporting by Hugh Lawson; Editing by Toby Davis anc Clare Fallon)

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