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A fully-committed performance

26 September 2018

Nottingham Forest manager Aitor Karanka said his side had to show spirit, character and determination to claim a 3-2 win over Stoke City in the Carabao Cup.

The ten-man Reds had to hang on in the game's final stages after a red card for Diogo Goncalves but they deservedly held on to claim a place in the fourth round for the first time since 2004 and leave their manager delighted.

He said: "I think we played a really good game, except from the final quarter or so. I'm really proud of the players because of lot of them aren't playing week in, week out but yet they gave it absolutely everything tonight.

"Sometimes, when you aren't playing every game, you aren't quite as fit but all the players out there tonight were fully committed until the final minute of the game.

"If you'd watched our game against Brentford and then this game tonight, you'd think we were a completely different team. I always said that with our quality, as long as we are committed, then we'll win lots of games and we're starting to see that now."

Forest battled hard to beat a side only recently relegated from the Premier League but Karanka felt his men were good value for their victory at the end of a tough encounter.

"I knew that with players like Bojan, Adam and Berahino that they were going to be a difficult side to beat and I think they showed their quality in the final 20-25 minutes. 

"I haven't seen the sending off back again but the fourth official was absolutely clear that it was a red card so we accept his decision. We haven't talked about an appeal or anything like that yet, it's too early.

"To play with a man less is always difficult but sometimes it can galvanise you and make you work harder. We felt the crowd support us even more when we went down to ten men and that made a real difference for us."

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