‘Disruptive’ - Nottingham Forest confirm managerial decision ahead of Aston Villa Premier League clash

Nottingham Forest have issued a statement on Steve Cooper’s future at the club ahead of Saturday’s visit to Aston Villa

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Nottingham Forest owner Evangelos Marinakis has provided manager Steve Cooper with a public statement of support ahead of Saturday’s Premier League clash with Aston Villa.

Reports on Friday suggested the former Swansea City boss was facing the sack if Forest failed to beat Wolves on Saturday. After a 1-1 draw, further reports suggested Patrick Vieira had already been eyed as a potential replacement if Forest lost at Leeds United on Tuesday.

The poor away form from Cooper’s side continued as they were beaten 2-1 at Elland Road despite taking a 1-0 lead after 12 minutes.

The defeat led to more speculation around Cooper’s future but Marinakis has moved to quash the uncertainty.

He said in a statement: “No one denies that our club is in a difficult position in the Premier League, but we wish to end the speculation and the false and disruptive reporting in the media to confirm that Steve Cooper remains our manager at Nottingham Forest.

“We have all been disappointed with recent performances and it is very clear that a lot of hard work needs to be done to address this urgently. Results and performances must improve immediately.

“Now is the time for everyone connected with our club, from us as owners, to the board, our supporters, backroom staff, coaches and players - to come together and fight to secure our status in the Premier League.

“There can be no time for distractions, rumours and speculation. There is only time for hard work, determination, a commitment from Steve and the players to getting the results we need and, of course, the continued magnificent support of the fans of Nottingham Forest.”

Forest are outside the bottom three on goal difference, with four sides on 27 points ahead of West Ham’s home game with Newcastle United on Wednesday night.

A number of clubs have opted to sack their managers this season, with Villa swinging the axe on Steven Gerrard before the World Cup break after a worrying slide down the table.

He was replaced by Unai Emery, who has since picked up 32 points from 16 games. Since the ex-Sevilla boss arrived in Birmingham, only Man City and Arsenal have accumulated a better total.