Aitor Karanka believes his Nottingham Forest side ultimately deserved to go through in Tuesday night’s entertaining Carabao Cup first round tie against Bury.
A scintillating 10-9 penalty shoot-out victory gave Forest the win after Matty Cash scored a 93rd-minute equaliser to rescue a draw.
Karanka made eleven changes to his line up and his second string fell behind in the second minute when Bury’s Eoghan O’Connell headed past Jordan Smith.
Just after the half hour, things went from bad to worse for Forest and Smith, as the shot stopper was shown a straight red card for a last-man foul on forward Dominic Telford.
It looked like League Two Bury had done enough to secure their progression to the next round but Cash fired home in the dying moments of the game to send the tie to penalties, where Luke Steele saved from O’Connell to give Forest the win after Cash and Bury’s Tom Miller had previously also seen efforts saved.
Speaking post-match, Karanka believed his side deserved to go through despite a below-par performance.
“It’s been a typical cup game,” said the former Middlesbrough manager. “We conceded an early goal and had the ‘keeper sent off early in the game. We were confident at the beginning but the most important thing is we lived until the end to equalise the game.
“I think we deserved to go through.
“We had chances to win even with ten players. It’s true that they had one or two opportunities, especially in transition. On penalties, we were luckier than them.”
Forest’s chances of going through were not helped by Jordan Smith’s dismissal but Karanka had no complaints with referee Scott Duncan’s decision.
“I think it was the right the decision. I didn’t see it but nobody complained,” claimed the 44 year old.
“The main thing is, with ten men, we equalised and we went through on penalties and now it’s just to go again on Saturday.”
On Saturday, Forest travel to Wigan in a return to league action and Karanka believes that every player who played on Tuesday staked their claim for a place in the team.
“All of them gave me food for thought, I know that I have a very good squad but I also know it’s difficult to play with eleven new faces on the pitch.
“I told them that we had to approach the game in the right way but again with the goal and the sending off, it was difficult.
“I know sometimes you say that all of them are really good players but when you’re not used to playing every game, it’s difficult to pass the ball between them.
“I think it was good because for me, the main thing is the attitude and all of them had a good attitude since the beginning.”