Erik ten Hag has warned that Manchester United will not be complacent despite virtually securing a spot in the Carabao Cup final after a 3-0 semi-final 1st leg win at Nottingham Forest on Wednesday evening.
First-half goals from Marcus Rashford and Wout Weghorst and Bruno Fernandes’ late third at the City Ground mean that only a miraculous turnaround in next week’s second leg will stop United appearing in the League Cup final at the national stadium next month.
Rashford’s strike was a moment of individual brilliance as he raced 50 yards and converted, Weghorst celebrated his first goal for the club since his loan move from Burnley while Fernandes effectively killed the tie at the death.
The win put United on the brink of returning to Wembley for their first domestic showpiece since losing the 2018 FA Cup final and Erik ten Hag will have the possibility of ending the club’s trophy drought, which stretches back to 2017, firmly in his sights in his first season at Old Trafford.
And speaking after the game, Ten Hag told Sky Sports: “I’m happy with the performance and I think over 90 minutes we controlled it. There was one moment that could have changed the game and that is where we need to improve but overall we controlled it.
“They changed the system and we didn’t anticipate that. It can’t happen. That is still a moment where we have to learn and improve as a team if you want to be top. Those moments can’t happen.”
Weghorst makes his mark with United
Ten Hag was also delighted to see Weghorst score his first goal for the club, adding: “I know it’s what he is capable of. He has a really good goalscoring record. We created some more good chances. It was a real striker’s goal.
“We almost let them come into the game and we can’t allow an opponent to get back into the game when we started so good. We dictated it totally then in one moment it can change. We need to avoid that.
“I think in the second half we were much more composed and we tracked them. It was much better.
“We had already planned the substitute. Marcus Rashford did his job and scored another goal so we were in a good position.
“Yeah we have to play one game. We have to do the same, prepare and make a good game plan. The players have to be focused.”
United are back in action on Saturday evening when they host Reading in the FA Cup 4th round.
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