NOTTINGHAM, England (AP)Widely expected to be fired as Nottingham Forest coach, Steve Cooper instead got a contract extension Friday from the Premier League’s last-place club.

Forest said in a statement Cooper was given two more years on a deal that now runs through the 2024-25 season.

”It is now important that our focus is solely on football,” the club said, four days after a 4-0 loss at previously winless Leicester seemed likely to end Cooper’s time at Forest after barely one year.

Cooper took over the two-time European champion at the bottom of the second-tier Championship in September 2021 and led a revived team to promotion via the playoffs.

However, stabilizing Forest in England’s top division after a 23-year absence has been difficult with a staggering 22 new players signed at a cost of $150 million.

Forest has won just one of its eight games and conceded 21 goals – 16 of them in its last four matches.

”As a group we are all concentrated and will do everything we can to help the team move up the league table and once again demonstrate our qualities that led us to the Premier League,” Forest said.

Cooper was due to speak to the media later Friday ahead of hosting Aston Villa on Monday.

The 42-year-old former England youth teams coach has been popular at the City Ground after guiding Forest to promotion.

Cooper now seems to have time and job security from the club’s owner, Greek businessman Evangelos Marinakis, to try to make his squad gel after breaking the British record of most signings in one transfer window.

”Some of the guys have only met each other these last couple of weeks,” Cooper said after the loss at Leicester, when he acknowledged his job was under threat.

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