The commitment shown by Nottingham Forest’s players is the key factor behind the Reds starting to pick up wins, says Aitor Karanka.
Forest claimed their third straight victory on Wednesday night in a 3-2 Carabao Cup third round success over fellow Championship side Stoke City at The City Ground.
Karanka’s side played the final 15 minutes a man down after Diogo Goncalves was sent off but the Reds manager said that can sometimes galvanise a team.
“I think we played a really good game, except from the final quarter or so,” said Karanka. “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.
“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.”
And added: “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.”
Goals from Ben Osborn, Daryl Murphy and Joe Lolley put Forest into a 3-0 lead before Benik Afobe and Saido Berahino made it a tense finale. But the Reds progress to the fourth round for the first time in 14 years.