Clough refers to “standards” a lot, and it probably explains why his Burton team have emerged as this season’s giant-killers.
On their route to the last four, they have embarrassed Burnley, Aston Villa, Middlesbrough and his old club Forest to set up a £500,000 jackpot for the Brewers.
Their rise through the leagues continues to inspire, and relegation from the Championship last season is the only blip over a decade of remarkable progress.
Just consider this: Burton are 51 places below Manchester City, their top earner is on £3,000 a week (with player wages slashed by 50 per cent after relegation) and their record signing, Liam Boyce, cost just £500,000.
Their biggest home attendance this season has been 4,566, and that was probably boosted by the travelling Sunderland fans.
Ten years ago, they were in the Blue Square Premier, competing against clubs such as Salisbury, Histon and Eastbourne. It is a journey which Clough and Ben Robinson, the chairman, will never take for granted.