Cooper’s team will receive United in the first leg on Wednesday and travel to Old Trafford a week later for the decisive second leg.
With Forest considered an underdog against star-studded United, Cooper could easily follow a defensive game plan in the hopes of a narrow victory.
But Cooper said he would tell his players to go on the offensive at the City Ground.
“It certainly wasn’t an easy ride to get to the semi-finals, and we treated it like any other game, one we want to do well and win,” Cooper told reporters.
“It’s a semi-final, we really want to commit to it, we really want to attack on it. Obviously Man United, it’s two legs, incredibly tough games – but one we don’t want to regret.
“We are in the semi-finals of an important cup. I think we should get into it because we don’t think they come around very often, so treat it like it’s the last.
“There’s a really good feeling about the semi-final in the city, the stadium will obviously be the atmosphere that’s been every game so far this season, which has been incredible, and we really need to embrace that.”
Forest played United in the league in December, losing 3–0 at Old Trafford, and Cooper was unhappy with his team’s lack of confidence on that occasion.
He wants a more up-tempo performance this time.
“We felt we didn’t play the game with enough faith and courage,” he said.
“It was going to be difficult anyway, and we might have played better and still didn’t get anything out of the game.
“But we walked off the field thinking we could have done a little better there, and I don’t want that in these games, I don’t want any regrets.
“We feel a good pressure to want to do well, and I want to make sure we go into the games with a really positive attitude, I want the players to believe they can succeed.
“We have to believe that we can play this game well and that we can make a positive contribution.”
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