Steve Cooper says he and his players will 'give it everything they've got' as The Reds prepare for their first League Cup semi final in 31 years.
Forest host Manchester United in the first leg Carabao Cup clash at The City Ground on Wednesday evening, before returning to Old Trafford next week to compete for a place in the final.
Speaking ahead of the fixture, Cooper admitted his full focus is on tomorrow night's tie in particular, and is hoping his players can embrace the occassion with his side set to be backed by another sell-out crowd on Trentside.
"It's a big focus of ours to make it an occassion to relish. We're proud to get to the latter stages of an important competition and the Club has a good history in it, so we've got to do what it takes to do well and do our best to deliver.
"It's going to be a tough couple of games, we're only focused on the first leg at the moment so we have to commit to it and back ourselves otherwise it'll be even more difficult.
"We need to recognise that these games might not come around too often and we've had to work hard to get here. We look forward to it, embrace it and attack it but in our way.
"This Club has a good history in the competition but we want to create more memories for the supporters because it's our first League Cup semi final for a long time.
"We've got to focus on the tie and be ready to give it everything we've got."
V The only two remaining previous winners of England’s EFL Cup begin the first part of their two-leg battle for a trip to Wembley less than a month after a one-sided Premier League (PL) affair to end the 2022 calendar year saw Nottingham Forest on the wrong end of a 3-0 scoreline.
With their PL survival not currently under immediate threat after a 1-1 draw at Bournemouth kept the relegation zone at bay for now, Forest have been afforded this valuable opportunity to edge closer to securing a rare piece of silverware, but in at least one leg are going to have to conquer a club they haven’t beaten since December 1994 (D1, L7).
Four-time EFL Cup champions Forest have not won any tournament involving top-flight clubs since the Brian Clough-led golden era in which they claimed consecutive EFL Cups twice (1977/78, 78/79, 88/89 and 89/90).
Current boss Steve Cooper could hardly be prouder of their run in 2022/23, telling media: “It’s given our older generation a chance to reminisce, and it’s given our younger generation a chance to enter new territory. That will always be important to me.”
Since securing their last EFL Cup crown in 2016/17, Manchester United have notably been eliminated at the semi-finals stage twice in five failures to reach the final, albeit both times against crosstown archrivals Manchester City. There are ample opportunities for an addition to the illustrious Old Trafford trophy cabinet this season with United still alive in three knockout events and with plenty to be confident about after a valiant showing in a narrow 3-2 defeat against PL leaders Arsenal on Sunday.
United accounted comfortably for Forest in the PL earlier in the season (W 3-0) as part of their prior lengthy unbeaten streak across all competitions, which incidentally demonstrates that playing away from home has been no issue. The greatest challenge for manager Erik ten Hag at this point is preventing fatigue and burnout, for this will be the ninth leg of an immensely busy 18-game period between Christmas and the end of February.
Players to watch:
Former Red Devil Jesse Lingard is the only player to have scored in two of Forest’s four EFL Cup wins this season and has been lined up to return from injury against his old club. His England teammate of yesteryear, Marcus Rashford has found the back of the net in all but one of his last nine competitive appearances.
Hot stat: United’s four consecutive wins in this season’s EFL and FA Cups have all been by multiple goal margins, as were six of their last seven H2H wins.