Manager Nigel Pearson showered praise on his players after Leicester secured a play-off spot on the final day of the npower Championship campaign.

The Foxes had to win at Nottingham Forest in the league for the first time since 1972 and hope that Bolton did not beat Blackpool if they were to finish in the top six. And that is exactly what happened. Anthony Knockaert's stoppage-time goal sealed a 3-2 win for Pearson's side as Bolton could only draw 2-2 at home.

It is Leicester who will play Watford over two legs in the semi-finals by virtue of a better goal difference than the Trotters. Pearson said: "The players have to take a lot of credit for dealing with the situation. It was like a cup final."

He continued: "There was a lot of pressure on the players - for both sides - and I'm really pleased with the way we coped.

"Some of our results coming into this weren't the best, despite feeling that our performances deserved more, but we worked hard to get another opportunity so well done to the players.

"We had an outside chance and we've done what we needed to do in terms of winning our game. That's all we could have done and thankfully we got the help we needed from elsewhere."

Despite the disappointment of having their promotion dream shattered, Forest will head into the summer full of optimism, according to assistant manager David Kelly.

"We are extremely proud of players. They were brilliant and we are proud of them," he said.

"Yes we are disappointed but look at where we've come from.

"Now we can look forward to a full season next time round - a season with a full pre-season behind us. We'll sit down and talk to the chairman and the owners and see where we can improve over the summer."