Nottingham Forest set a new record in their 5-1 demolition of Swansea City on Saturday.
Former Swansea boss Steve Cooper’s side racked up 17 shots on target against the visitors, with Russell Martin’s men managing three in the process, despite having 70 per cent of the ball.
The Reds struck four times in the second half, with ex-Swansea striker Sam Surridge netting a hat-trick against his old loan side. The hosts had a further 10 strikes off target, and on EFL highlights show Quest, the pundits highlighted a new record set at The City Ground, one which surpasses the achievements of super clubs LIverpool and Manchester City this season.
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“Seventeen shots on target today, they were electric,” said pundit Ali Maxwell of Forest. “It was the most shots on target that any team has had in England’s top four tiers this season. Liverpool and Man City both had 15, they were the record holders. Forest with the most shots on target in professional English football this season. They were unbelievable today. They let Swansea come on to them, they weren’t fussed about that. Their shape was solid and they tore them to shreds in transition.”
Fellow pundit Clinton Morrison chose to highlight the contribution of Surridge and also lauded the efforts of Cooper, who has guided Forest to the brink of automatic promotion, all the way from the bottom of the table, where Forest found themselves when he took over. The work on the training ground is a big reason for that, Morrison believes.
He said: “I’m surprised he did that (missed a first-half chance) because I went in and watched training, Steve Cooper invited me in and he (Surridge) can finish. They are going to need him from now until the end of the season, because Keinan Davis is injured and Lewis Grabham is injured.
“This boy has all the capabilities of going to play at an even higher level. I have to give special credit to Steve Cooper, the job he has done. When I went into the training ground, tactically he gets everything spot on. He’s done an outstanding job. They were bottom, now he’s got them in contention of finishing in the top two. Brilliant. “
In the opposite dugout, Martin said he learned a great deal about some of his players after the capitulation in Nottinghamshire, admitting that the second half was “embarrassing”. The defeat brought to an end a nine-game unbeaten run.
“I thought the first half was great, we took the sting out of the atmosphere and controlled it for long parts,” he said. “We had some really good moments. Their scary moments came from set-pieces and on the counter attack, which is something they’re brilliant at.
“Then we just totally cost ourselves the game after 10 minutes in the second half. Then it’s about trying to stay brave, and we didn’t do it anywhere near well enough. The willingness to run in the last 20 minutes was nowhere near good enough.
“What we’ve learnt from the Bournemouth second half and this second half is that we certainly need a bit more presence and athleticism next season, there’s no doubt. Today’s been embarrassing, the second 45 minutes. The supporters didn’t deserve that, and the players and staff didn’t deserve that for the way they’ve worked.
“It’s a real sign of what we are lacking and how to respond when we go behind. Today we learnt a bit about a few guys as well. I’m just really disappointed for everyone that we’ve finished the season away from home like that. The reality check is that if you’re not going to really look after the ball and keep it as far away from our goal as possible, then you have to be willing to fight and defend, and we haven’t been able to do that. We know now what we’re lacking for next season.
“Ultimately the players have worked hard all season. Everyone has. They’ve grown so much. It’s been pushing a rock uphill all season to get to a certain point. They’re in a position now where they can cause teams at the top of the table problems. We have to respond next Saturday because I don’t want to finish the season like that. We were nine unbeaten before today, but it was really humbling in the second 45 minutes.”