Manchester United will face Newcastle in the EFL Cup final after the Red Devils beat Nottingham Forest 2-0 tonight at Old Trafford to secure a 5-0 aggregate victory over Steve Cooper’s side.
Erik Ten Hag’s men dominated possession throughout the opening period, but the most clear-cut chances would fall to Forest. Firstly, winger Brennan Johnson fired straight at Tom Heaton when clean through on goal before Emmanuel Dennis’ volley was inadvertently cleared off the line by his teammate Sam Surridge.
Manchester United did go close to opening the scoring on the stroke of half-time, Wout Weghorst heading against the post from a beautifully flighted Casemiro cross.
Ten Hag emptied his bench after the hour mark, introducing Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial and Jadon Sancho and on 73 minutes the home side’s constant pressure finally resulted in a goal. After a swift counter, Rashford’s shot was blocked and Martial followed up to scuff a left-footed volley into the bottom corner from ten yards out.
A few minutes later Fred would seal the win when he tapped home from a couple of yards out after some neat interplay between United’s attacking players.
Speaking afterwards United manager Ten Hag revealed that despite reaching the final he is constantly pushing his squad to improve.
“Of course when you win a semi-final it’s OK,” Ten Hag told Sky Sports. ”The first half wasn’t great to be honest. I thought it was professional but too slow and we didn’t create too many chances. We allowed them to. The second half was much better, more tempo and we made some good goals.
“We were 3-0 up so I didn’t want to give them momentum. They were waiting for one chance to get into the game. We were searching for gaps but I think Forest played well, defended compact and we didn’t find the gaps.
Jadon Sancho makes his first Man Utd appearance since October 22 🔴 pic.twitter.com/5MG5cnavQF
— B/R Football (@brfootball) February 1, 2023
“I don’t think we were frustrated but we had to be a little bit smart. You don’t want to give anything away so keep the ball. We should have done more investment like quicker switches and movement in behind.
“We just want to improve every day. I think we have a good squad so we have to demand and control the high standards. You have to bring that every game. We are Manchester United. When you are a United player you have to match the standards.
“We have had to make lots of compromises in the season so far so hopefully now they [all players back from injuries] are all available. If you want to win trophies, you need them all to be available. You saw tonight you can bring a new dynamic off the bench.”
The EFL final will take place at Wembley on Sunday the 26th of February.
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