Derby County crashed out of the Carabao Cup on Tuesday night as they lost 3-0 at rivals Nottingham Forest.
It was a disappointing evening for the Rams. Goals from Albert Adomah, Joe Lolley and Joao Carvalho gave the Reds early season bragging rights.
Here are five things we can take from the encounter:
Phillip Cocu ignored the rivalry:
Derby County boss Phillip Cocu made ten changes to his side. It was a mixture of youth and squad players.
The Rams were well beaten, and some supporters were quick to vent their frustration after the game. Over 3,000 Derby fans travelled to the City Ground, and a fair few felt Cocu’s line-up lacked respect for the importance of the East Midlands derby.
Cocu has his eyes on the long-term benefits:
The number of changes raised more than a few eyebrows, but on reflection you can see Cocu’s vision. Three young academy players in Lee Buchanan, Louie Sibley and Morgan Whittaker started the game.
The experience will help these players in the long-term.
Derby were never likely to win the Carabao Cup. So why not allow the younger players to gain senior match experience while bringing other fringe players back to fitness?
Duane Holmes is rebuilding his fitness:
Duane Holmes featured at right-back for Derby on Tuesday evening. Cocu previously claimed he played Krystian Bielik in defence as it’s easier to rebuild his fitness from that position. The same can be said for Holmes.
The USA international has a big future at Pride Park in the middle of the park. He will become a vital player for the Rams, but in the short-term he needs minutes on the field regardless of what position.
Mason Bennett is not a number nine:
Seven career goals in over 100 appearances suggests Mason Bennett is not a number nine.
The 23-year-old once again struggled to make an impact. You could blame the service, but Bennett doesn’t look capable of being a prolific scorer.
Bennett came through the Derby academy. He is a popular figure at Pride Park. However, to play regularly for an upper end Championship side appears to be beyond his capabilities.
Derby’s lack of strength in depth:
Derby fielded three young academy players. But the Rams also fielded Curtis Davies, Graeme Shinnie, George Evans, Jamie Paterson, Matt Clarke and Ben Hamer. Players with plenty of senior level experience.
Forest’s average age of their starting XI was even younger than Derby’s on the night. The difference between the two sides was the Reds’ back-up players (they also made eight changes) were of much higher quality.