Nottingham Forest had a golden opportunity to progress into the last eight of the EFL Cup when they made the relatively short trip to face Burton Albion last night, but they botched it.
A wretched performance meant that Forest went down 3-2 and led Aitor Karanka to lash out at his players in the aftermath.
The former Middlesbrough manager said: “I feel embarrassed and I feel sorry for the crowd, because everyone came here today, knowing that we had the chance to do something nice – and we did nothing.
“They were much stronger than us, they wanted every ball more than us; they were much more hungry than us. We were really poor. These are the games that, when you retire… you look back on as a lost opportunity.”
So who is to blame? Karanka must take some of the blame after he made ten changes. He was clearly looking to introduce freshness and offer fringe players an opportunity to impress; but making wholesale changes can lead to a disjointed performance and complacency from the players.
But the players themselves are not blameless. What they put in against a team from the league below was wretched and a huge opportunity missed in terms of making the last eight of a major domestic competition.