Ten Hag: Sancho, Martial return a ‘luxury problem’ as Man Utd show ‘new dynamic’ vs Forest
Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag is pleased to have the “luxury problem” of having extra players available after Jadon Sancho and Anthony Martial returned to action on Wednesday.
The Red Devils cruised through to the final of the Carabao Cup final after a 2-0 win against Nottingham Forest secured a 5-0 aggregate victory.
It was a successful evening for Ten Hag, who welcomed back Sancho, who made his first appearance since October 22.
Martial was another welcome returnee after he fully recovered from his latest injury setback.
“It’s a luxury problem but it’s how we wanted it,” Ten Hag said on the returns of his two attacking players.
“It’s normal at Manchester United to play every few days. Players prefer to play games than to train.”
The United boss was not too pleased with his side’s showing against Forest, however, especially in the first half.
“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.
“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.”
On facing Eddie Howe’s Newcastle United in the Carabao Cup final, Ten Hag added: “Of course we are looking forward to it. We get to go to Wembley and it’s Newcastle Untied who are great team but it is far away for us.”
Forest boss Steve Cooper says it was a “good cup run” for his side.
“The performances were very different,” he told BBC Radio 5 Live. “I was disappointed last week, there was no doubt. Not just with the scoreline but with the timing of the goals, the lack of the game management for a two-legged semi-final.
“There was some disappointing moments last week that reflected the score line and the damage really was done in terms of getting through over the two legs.
“We couldn’t say that before the game and we wouldn’t because you have to try and give yourself the best chance of trying to achieve something. Tonight was a lot better certainly in terms of performance and we’ve had two great chances in the first half. If you take one and you definitely take two then maybe it becomes a different story.
“As always I will look at the performance and look at what was not quite right. We should also remember this is the first time in the semi-finals for over 30 years. Loads of clubs would have loved to be in our position over the last two games.
“Although we are disappointed with losing two games and the score-line doesn’t look good on paper, overall it has been a good cup run, better than we have done over the last couple of years.
“At Forest we show respect and congratulations to United and Newcastle for getting to the final. We know how tough it’s been to get this far so to go one more is credit to them.”
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