- Raul Jimenez and Alex Iwobi both scored twice for Fulham in emphatic victory
- Forest fans issued firm backing to manager Steve Cooper despite the defeat
- This HAS to be the time when players show respect and control. Only the captain should approach referees – Listen to It’s All Kicking Off
Even after seeing their team suffer the ultimate collapse at Craven Cottage, Nottingham Forest’s supporters were singing at full-time and it was Steve Cooper’s name on their lips.
They will forever be grateful for what he has done for their club. Forever thankful that he got them to the Premier League and kept them there.
Yet after this, Cooper can only hope Marinakis is not in a two-for-one mood, having already sacked the manager of the other club he owns this week.
He does not want to suffer the same fate that befell Diego Martinez of Olympiacos, though this fourth straight Premier League loss piled on the pressure and then some.
Not least because Marinakis was present at Craven Cottage to witness this deflating defeat.
Raul Jimenez and Alex Iwobi both scored twice for Fulham in emphatic victory
Iwobi set the Cottagers on their way by converting Willian’s beautifully whipped cross
Jimenez doubled the lead four minutes later by firing emphatically into the top right corner
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Cooper wore the look of a worried man at full-time as he trudged towards the away end who had been singing his name from start to finish. He held his hands up in an apology. They responded by showing their love towards him. If this is goodbye, what a wild ride it has been.
History tells us there have been seven Premier League managers whose final match in charge of their club was away at Fulham. Steven Gerrard remains the most recent victim, sacked after Aston Villa’s 3-0 loss here in October 2022. Hoping the curse of Craven Cottage would not come for him, Cooper made five changes to his team from their recent 1-0 loss to Everton, including dropping Morgan Gibbs-White. Big calls. Costly, as we later discovered in the midst of this defeat.
By the time Fulham opened the scoring in the 30th minute, Forest cannot say they weren’t warned. They had already seen Raul Jimenez test Odysseas Vlachodimos with an improvised attempt at a finish, and Andreas Pereira smack the post with a 25-yard free-kick.
The opener had been coming and it finally arrived after Forest’s Ibrahim Sangare surrendered possession carelessly in midfield. Fulham surged forward at speed with Willian’s in-swinging cross finding Alex Iwobi, played onside at the back post by Murillo’s foolishly-deep position.
Fulham doubled their lead just four minutes later with yet more naive defending from Forest. Iwobi passed to the unmarked Pereira, who poked the ball in behind for Jimenez to blast it beyond Vlachodimos. With so much space, it was no wonder the visitors were being picked apart.
‘Sacked in the morning,’ sang Fulham’s fans while Forest supporters greeted the half-time whistle with boos. The changes, including swapping out half of his defence, had not worked for Cooper.
Fulham scored their third in the 55th minute when Jimenez out-muscled Ola Aina before skipping around the onrushing Vlachodimos. Shovelling salt into Forest wounds, he scored with a backheel, a cheeky finish of a centre forward glad to be back amongst the goals.
Every Fulham pass was now being greeted by oles. They were enjoying their chilly evening out, having entered into this match only two points ahead of the visitors. Never could they have imagined seeing such a walk in the park.
Jimenez rounded goalkeeper Odysseas Vlachodimos before scoring with a cheeky back-heel
Substitute Tom Cairney completed the rout by scoring the fifth goal in the 86th minute
Nottingham Forest fans issued firm backing to manager Steve Cooper despite the defeat
Marco Silva had celebrated each goal with great gusto. He previously managed Marinakis’ Olympiacos in 2015-16 before stepping down due to personal reasons. Silva and Marinakis are understood to still enjoy a good relationship with mutual respect between the two.
As the second half continued, it looked likelier that Fulham would add to their lead than Forest would trouble the scoreline. That proved true as Iwobi secured his second of the night, seemingly prompting Marinakis’ departure from the directors’ box. He had seen enough of this defeat and it got worse for the visitors following his exit.
In the 86th minute, Tom Cairney broke behind Forest’s leaky defence to meet Pereira’s pass and make this a five-star showing. ‘We want six,’ chanted the greedy home fans, before reminding Cooper of the P45 that might be coming his way in the coming days.
Only time will tell if Cooper is granted the chance to face Wolves this Saturday.