Nottingham Forest boss Steve Cooper conceded he was still in charge of a “team in transition” while his side’s latest crop of signings remain in integration mode.
The Reds added 13 new faces during the summer transfer window including 21-year-old Brazilian centre-back Murillo, who displayed flashes of his promising potential during Saturday’s goalless draw with Crystal Palace in the Premier League.
Cooper, who led Forest to promotion at the end of the 2021-22 season, made clear cohesion was his end-game, but nevertheless sees the task of team-building as an inspiring endeavour.
He said: “It is a challenge, but it’s an exciting challenge, because in the end you do want a consistent team that has played together for a while where the natural connections build and you don’t even talk about it, it tends to come naturally, because of the experience of playing with each other.
“So that’s what we want to do, but it’s a transition. It’s a team in transition for sure, but we know where want to go and where we want to play going forward.
“But while we’re doing that you’re taking nothing for granted and what you’ve got to do along the way is pick up enough points to be more or less where you want to be in the league.
“What we also have to bear in mind, and not lose sight of, is the fact that it is only our second year in the Premier League.
“One week I’m getting asked about second season syndrome and the next week I’m getting asked about what the expectations are, and neither are in our mind.
“It’s just about living in the moment, in the present, committing to a plan of where we want to go and recognising that there will be ups and downs.”
Few managers would be more eager to speed through the present moment than Palace boss Roy Hodgson, whose side are looking to stay up for an 11th consecutive season.
Saturday’s point ensured his Eagles would sit ninth at an international break that could not come at a more opportune time, with Hodgson’s side mired in an injury crisis further compounded after both Jairo Riedewald and Jeffrey Schlupp were forced off against Forest.
With Eberechi Eze, Michael Olise, Cheick Doucoure, Jefferson Lerma, Matheus Franca, Joel Ward, Dean Henderson, Naouirou Ahamada and Nathan Ferguson all out of action, Hodgson was questioned about the success of Palace’s own summer transfer window that ended in just four new faces arriving.
He said: “There’s being wise after the event. Had there not been any injuries, and we were sailing along with what we think is our best team, probably you’d be asking the question ‘when are you going to give x, y and z a game?’. I don’t hold that against anybody.
“But of course (chairman) Steve (Parish) and (sporting director) Dougie Freedman, they are talking about these things all the time, and I’m pretty certain that if they think there are lessons to be learned, they will learn them, but my job is to work with the players that are there in front of me.”