Nottingham Forest Under 23 head coach Jack Lester said his side was lacking quality in the final third as West Ham won 2-1 in the Premier League Cup last night.
A late Marcus Browne goal proved to be the winner for the Hammers as the midfielder was quickest to pounce on Tim Erlandsson’s save, and Lester felt that tiredness towards the end of the game was the deciding factor.
He said: “I think we ran out of steam at the end and Virgil [Gomis] was very bright when he came on but we were up against a very good side. If there was a little bit of detail and a little bit more quality in and around the final third and we could have won the game.
“They have lots of good players but for the winner I think we just need to sense danger a little bit quicker as the shot is going in and defend the next ball.”
The defeat was a second of the group stage for The Reds, but Lester feels that coming up against sides of the calibre of West Ham will stand his side in good stead in the long run.
He said: “It is a team mostly of Under 18 players and most of those are first years, so it is a wonderful experience for them. We go into these games younger than everybody, but we are hoping we get the rewards in 12 or 18 months.
“Getting these lads pushed up, and they are good enough to be pushed up, means that we can get three or four into the league on loan. That is the strategy, to get some out on loan and get these players pushed up and I think we will get the rewards from that.
“If you haven’t got a pathway to the first team it becomes very difficult to convince players that this is the right place for them. But it is very easy for us to sell this club to players as we do put players through and we have players coming through the academy.”
Friday night’s match was the second for a returning Dani Pinillos, who played his second 45 minutes in a week as he continues his recovery following ten months on the sidelines with injury.
Lester added: “Dani was excellent. It is his second game in three days after ten months out so he got a bit tired today but he has come through it unscathed. When you have had that length of time out injured it is about getting through the first few games.”
Read the report of the match at Alfreton Town's Impact Arena here.