Arsene Wenger ensured Arsenal had the right mentality against Nottingham Forest following last year’s League Cup upset at Sheffield Wednesday.
Wenger admitted last season’s 3-0 defeat at Hillsborough was at the forefront of his mind as he prepared for Tuesday night’s third-round tie in the East Midlands.
In the end it was a comfortable 4-0 win for the Gunners as Granit Xhaka’s strike, a Lucas Perez double and a late goal from Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain eased Wenger’s team through what had looked to be a tricky test before kick-off.
The Arsenal boss said: “I told the players that last year in the first round we won at Tottenham and after that went to Sheffield Wednesday and lost 3-0 because we weren’t ready mentally for the commitment of the Championship.
“I think our history helped us a little bit to help us start in a much stronger way.”
Xhaka’s 30-yard opener after 23 minutes settled Arsenal following a confident start to the match by Forest, who should have taken an early lead after a defensive error by the visitors.
Nicklas Bendtner, making his first start for Forest against the club with whom he spent nine years, set up Pajtim Kasami with a low cross into the penalty area but he rolled his shot agonisingly wide, with goalkeeper Damian Martinez well beaten diving the opposite way.
Wenger said: “We suffered in the first 20 minutes a little bit and that goal helped us and after that I think everybody was focused to play the way we want to play - sharp movement of the ball, good mobility and always quick to move forward.
“In the end it (the scoreline) was comfortable but the game was tough, played at a good pace, and Nottingham Forest played with full commitment.
“We needed to be patient and maybe as well not concede a goal, which we did well, and overall technically we played well and our combinations worked well and we played at a high pace and that made the difference in the game.
“It was a convincing performance and we had some young players who did well. Perez scored as well so overall it was a positive night.”
Forest boss Philippe Montanier conceded the gulf in technical ability between the two sides but hopes the defeat taught his players a valuable lesson that they can take into their Championship campaign.
“Arsenal are a team who play at a top technical level and we need to learn from that,” he said. “Football is a technical sport and if we do not have that technique, it will be more difficult for this season. That can be the difference between the two teams this season - that technique.
“Physically we were fine, we ran around, we worked hard, but we had to have better technique and not just give the ball to Arsenal and make it harder for ourselves. When we did that we made it mission impossible for ourselves.
“Arsenal were hugely clinical. They were superior with that and we need to be better.”