Nottingham Forest boss Steve Cooper says Dean Henderson’s failure to play in the Carabao Cup semi-final against Manchester United has hindered his side’s progress.
Henderson was Forest’s hero as he saved two penalties in a 4-3 shooting success against the Wolves after the quarterfinal draw ended 1-1 in regular time, in which he made a series of other saves.
With Ruben Neves and Joe Hodge clear of pointers, the loaner keeper will not be eligible for a two-legged last-four draw with his parent club unless he gives written permission for United to play.
This seems highly unlikely after this show, as Forest reached the semi-finals of a competition they have special memories of and won four times.
“I just thought of that now, it’s frustrating,” Cooper said of Henderson’s unsuitability.
“After seeing his night tonight, he was excellent in the penalty shootout but good in the game, more than good in the game.
“It’s unfortunate. Part of our group is so attached to the group and how we work, what we’re trying to accelerate in terms of what we want to be.
You need a really good goalkeeper to do that. He not only dedicates himself as a goalkeeper, but also buys being in the city and the great benefit of the club.
“He put a damper on it for me tonight.”
In the end, there were ugly scenes with a massive brawl as bad blood boiled between the two sides.
Celebrating his team’s win in front of the away side, former Wolves forward Morgan Gibbs-White was at the forefront of the team and clashed with some of his former teammates.
Officials had to intervene and both clubs are confident they will be in hot water with the Football Association.
Cooper declined to comment on the incident.
“I’m not going to deny that it didn’t happen but why it happened, how it happened and what happened, if I talk about it I won’t be fully clear because I don’t know,” he said.
“So I really shouldn’t say anything.”
Gibbs-White helped another of the Wolves’ elders put Forest ahead, while Wily Boly poked home from a corner at close range, but Raul Jimenez was leveled after the break.
The Wolves thought they should have taken a penalty after Matheus Nunes fell to the ground during a challenge, but referee Graham Scott waved off the protests.
Wolves boss Julen Lopetegui said: “I’m disappointed that we lost and didn’t make it to the semi-finals.
“We had more chances than Nottingham but the important thing is the goals. We found chances in the first half and were not able to capitalize on them.
“We scored a goal and had another situation. Nunes went to check, we saw the image.
“Maybe I should learn the rules. It was very clear to me but the referee is the only one with the authority to say yes or no.
“It was very clear to me, it’s impossible to see it on TV and say it wasn’t, but there was no TV.”