Nottingham Forest were dumped out of the League Cup on Tuesday evening following a below-par performance against Burton Albion.
The League One outfit were comfortable throughout the contest and the 3-2 scoreline flattered the Reds, who should have perhaps been beaten by more than the one goal margin.
The game represented a big chance for Forest to reach the quarter-final of the League Cup for the first time in 25 years. It is pretty safe to say that Karanka’s second string of players fluffed their lines.
The Reds’ boss went with the group of players who had performed so well in the previous round but certain members of the team let themselves down badly.
Central defender Michael Hefele falls into the category of players who should be particularly let down by his own performance.
The German defender was dropped following an average display in a 2-1 defeat by Norwich and was left on the sidelines as the Reds picked up four points from away games with Bolton Wanderers and Leeds United.
The ex-Huddersfield man was handed an opportunity to stake a claim for his first-team place back and his performance won’t live long in the memory of his manager.
The 28-year looked slow, was wasteful in possession and was given the runaround by Brewers’ striker Liam Boyce, who had his card marked all evening.
With Forest boasting a plethora of talent these days it really wasn’t the ideal time for Hefele to turn in such a woeful performance. Indeed, with January just around the corner, such a bad display might have left his boss with some serious thinking to do ahead of the window opening once again.
Hefele gives the impression of a decent guy who does wonders for morale in the dressing room. With Forest targeting promotion from this season, however, it is fair to say that the German needs to up his game considerably if he is wanting to feature prominently for the Reds.