Nottingham Forest’s Steve Cooper hits out at Richarlison’s ball-juggling antics


Steve Cooper was deeply unimpressed by Richarlison’s juggling antics during Nottingham Forest’s defeat by Tottenham on Sunday evening. With Spurs 2-0 up late in the game, Richarlison began to taunt the Forest defenders by juggling the ball on the left wing, to howls of derision from the home crowd.

“I wouldn’t want my players to do that, what Richarlison did,” the Nottingham Forest manager said. “If that is accepted at Spurs that is nothing to do with me, but it wouldn’t be accepted here.”

Tottenham’s manager, Antonio Conte, said he did not get a good view of the incident because he was in discussion with the bench over a late substitution, but insisted Richarlison had meant no disrespect.

“He juggled with the ball, no?” Conte said. “It’s a game and you are under pressure. I think it’s OK. I don’t think he wanted to show disrespect to Nottingham Forest, a really good team with a great history.”

Richarlison’s late cameo provided an acrimonious denouement to a scrappy Spurs win, sealed with two Harry Kane goals at either end of the match that moved him to joint third on the all-time Premier League scoring list. But Forest had the majority of possession and plenty of chances, giving Cooper cause for encouragement before a daunting trip to Manchester City on Wednesday.

“We don’t want to be in awe of these big teams, we want to attack them head-on,” Cooper said. “The performance was good, we really took the game to Spurs, got into good areas to threaten the goal. For all the play and the territory we had, we didn’t turn it into enough attempts on goal. But there were loads of good things from our game today.”

Conte, meanwhile, had a gripe of his own. The Italian pointed out that Spurs were the only one of the big six teams scheduled to play three games in six days this week, with matches against West Ham on Wednesday and Fulham on Saturday to follow. “I don’t want to complain. But this time we were unlucky and hopefully next time somebody else will be unlucky.”