A weakened Forest side took the lead at White Hart Lane, when full debutant Jorge Grant netted in the second half.
Despite eventual losing 3-1, with Ryan Mason, Roberto Soldado and Harry Kane turning the tie in Spurs’s favour, Forest boss Stuart Pearce was delighted with the performance, as, despite making nine changes to his starting line up, the Reds put in the kind of performance that had seen them remain unbeaten until Wednesday night’s tie.
Speaking to the official Nottingham Forest website, the Reds legend said: “Whatever team I put out tonight, I’m not sure they could have put on a better performance than the 14 who took to the pitch. I really was impressed with them.
“I thought that team would win the match. They carried out our game plan exemplarily and Tottenham needed a fantastic goal to get them back into it.
“The likes of Dan Harding have been patient and come in tonight and shown a first-class attitude. On top of that the Ben Osborns, the Jamie Patersons...they’re all showing me they want to be in my first team on a regular basis.
“It’s another sign that this football club is in a healthy situation.”
Despite the Premier League side naming a squad full of established stars, with Soldado alongside Andros Townsend and Jan Vertonghen, it was the youngsters on show that grabbed the headlines. Aside from Grant and Mason scoring for their respective sides, Oliver Burke made his debut for Forest late on, whilst Tyler Walker was an unused substitute.
Whilst it is common to see top flight sides use a number of youngsters in League Cup ties against weaker opposition, it is a rare occurrence to see the weaker side call up academy players to their squad. However, Pearce has always intended to use well-performing prospects, and he believed that a number were ready for the trip to North London.
“I told the academy players at the start of the season that if they were doing well enough they’d be involved in the first-team squad, and I’ve been true to my word," he added.
“Oliver ended up on the pitch for us, Tyler was on the bench and Jorge was a million miles away before I came here, but he’s been so impressive.”