Steve Cooper paid an emotional tribute to captain Joe Worrall after he ‘put himself second for the football club’ following a family tragedy and led Nottingham Forest to a historic win at Chelsea.
Worrall’s uncle was the police sergeant, Graham Saville, who lost his fight for life last week after being hit by a train while trying to save a man in distress.
Forest manager Cooper said: ‘He has been incredible. I knew what was going on before it became public and he has put himself second for the football club. It has given him a release.
‘The guys showed him a huge amount of respect for what he has been through and I cannot speak highly enough of the man he has been this week or so.
Joe Worrall put in a sensational captain’s performance at the heart of Forest’s defence
Worrall tragically lost his uncle, Nottinghamshire police sargeant Graham Saville, last week
‘I know how important this will be today. It will give him and his family some respite. Nothing can make what happened any better but at least it gives him some nice feelings for a while. A lot of that result today was for them.’
Forest produced a near-perfect away performance to claim their first win at Chelsea in 28 years though Cooper admitted he made a major mistake by wearing a jumper in the searing September heat at Stamford Bridge.
Cooper needed a big red beach towel, which he still had with him in his post-match press conference, to help wipe away the sweat during the game and joked: ‘Biggest schoolboy error of the day is on me. I completely misread the weather.
‘Hence the towel. Then we scored and I thought I wasn’t going to let go of my towel.
‘I kept it all game. I’m sweating my balls off to be honest.’
Chelsea were booed off after suffering their second league defeat of the season in their opening four games and Mauricio Pochettino said: ‘You can understand the people that came from the past, they want to see the team winning and playing well. We are not playing fantastically but the performance is not bad.
‘If we’d scored in the first few minutes and had two big chances then maybe we’d have finished in a different way.
‘But I understand, the fans want to win and we need to give the possibility to them to be happy and, yes, we need to keep working and we are going to be positive. I understand we are in Chelsea and we should win every single game.’
Steve Cooper was delighted with his team and captain’s performance away at Stamford Bridge