Manchester United vs Nottingham Forest. Carabao Cup Semi-Final.
Match report and free highlights from the second leg of the Carabao Cup semi-final between Manchester United and Nottingham Forest at Old Trafford as the Red Devils eased into the final, where they will face Newcastle, with a 2-0 victory to triumph 5-0 on aggregate
Thursday 2 February 2023 08:30, UK
Manchester United set up a Carabao Cup final clash with Newcastle after they saw off Nottingham Forest 5-0 on aggregate.
Leading 3-0 from the first leg of their semi-final after a dominant performance last week at the City Ground, United completed the job at Old Trafford with late goals from Anthony Martial and Fred to seal a 2-0 win.
They even managed to give a run out to Jadon Sancho, making his first appearance for the club after an extended absence of more than three months.
Erik ten Hag now has the opportunity to claim a first piece of silverware in his debut season with the club, which would end a six-year wait since United's last trophy - the 2017 Europa League under Jose Mourinho.
Despite their advantage from the first leg, Ten Hag still named a strong side, with the likes of Luke Shaw, Raphael Varane and Casemiro all featuring.
Forest were forced to replace Jesse Lingard with Emmanuel Dennis after the former was injured in the warm-up, which proved a further setback in their attempts to do the impossible.
It was a low-key first-half until both sides had good chances just before the break. At one end Dennis was teed up by Brennan Johnson before being denied when his shot struck his own team-mate in Sam Surridge. At the other end Casemiro then crossed beautifully for Wout Weghorst, but his header hit the post.
United were comfortable but Ten Hag still opted to put on Martial and Marcus Rashford on the hour, while he also brought on Sancho, who returned for the first time since October 22.
The pair then combined after a quick turnover as Martial fired in United's first of the night on 73 minutes, beating Wayne Hennessy from close range.
And a few minutes later Rashford latched onto a Bruno Fernandes cross to square the ball across for Fred, who tapped into an empty net.
Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag on Sky Sports Football:
"The first half wasn't great to be honest. It was professional with how we played, but the tempo was too slow, we didn't create chances and we allowed them to create chances. That shouldn't happen.
"I think they played well, defending compact and we didn't find the gaps. The second half was a bit better with more tempo and I think we scored some good goals.
"We just want to improve every day. I think we have a good squad and we have to demand high standards. If we aren't reaching those standards we are not happy. In the first half I wasn't happy. We are United and when you're a United player you have to match those standards.
"Of course we are looking forward to facing Newcastle at Wembley. It will be a great final. But it's far away from us now. We've got the Premier League first, and Crystal Palace on Saturday."
Nottingham Forest manager Steve Cooper on Sky Sports Football:
"Congratulations to Manchester United and Newcastle for getting to the final. Good luck to both of them at Wembley.
"The damage was done in the first leg if we're honest. But we have had two great chances in the first half. We've not played particularly well at away grounds at the 'big six', but I thought we did a bit better tonight.
"But the club is on an upward trajectory. Think where we were 12 months ago to where we are now, competing in the Premier League and in semi-finals. We need to take a breath and think 'we're doing alright here'. We've got to say we're making forward steps, and we've just got to keep working hard."
Roy Keane on Sky Sports Football:
"When the new manager came in, Man Utd were rock bottom. But what was the key was the five or six players who left. I'm not knocking all these players but they were experienced - Paul Pogba, Juan Mata, Nemanja Matic, Jesse Lingard - lads who were around and kind of knew they were leaving, their contracts were up.
"That wasn't helping whereas there definitely feels like there's a new energy, the manager has obviously put a few markers on since the start of the season. That momentum, the feel-good energy is back at the club, you feel the energy levels are slightly different.
"[Cristiano] Ronaldo has been moved on, but also the other five or six players who left. These were big players like [Edinson] Cavani. They were fringe players coming off the bench and when they did come on, they weren't bringing much to the party, they felt they should have been starting. They've got to come on and be ready, whereas the fringe last year who weren't involved, you felt they were energy sappers.
"Last year, there was the caretaker manager in the second half of the season. There was that doubt hanging over. When the manager doesn't have that power, the players see through it. That's why the players took the mick out of him and the club's situation. The players took advantage of that and there was no hiding place."
The Carabao Cup final will take place on Sunday February 26. It will be live on Sky Sports Football.
Manchester United return to Premier League action at 3pm on Saturday when they host Crystal Palace at Old Trafford.
Erik ten Hag's side then face rivals Leeds twice in quick succession, first at home next Wednesday at 8pm before a trip to Elland Road at 2pm on February 12, live on Sky Sports.
Nottingham Forest host Leeds at 2pm on Sunday in their next match, live on Sky Sports. They then travel to Fulham for a 3pm kick-off on February 11.