This famous old ground on the River Trent produced a deafening atmosphere at kick-off, having proven a difficult place for ‘Big Six’ opponents to visit of late, with Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur suffering defeats, while Chelsea were lucky to escape with a draw.
Forest will have the relegation battle in the Premier League on the mind now, welcoming Leeds United here a week on Sunday, while the Red Devils host Reading this weekend in the FA Cup fourth round, before what will surely be a formality of a return leg.
On the performance: “From a result perspective, we bounced back good, quite clear. I think the performance over 90 minutes was okay. There was one moment that could’ve changed the game, and we have to avoid that. It’s a learning moment to develop a really good team.
“The first 20 minutes was all us, we played really well on the ball from the start. Great goal, Rashy again. After the goal, we created some good chances, but then we allowed them almost to come back in the game. That can’t happen.
“The second half was much better, much more calm. We never allowed them a counter, and created ourselves chances. The 2-0 before half-time was important. It was a great action from Antony, and the rebound from Weghorst as the striker, that’s why we got him.”
On Antony: “I think he played a really good game. He was good in between the lines, he had good physicality, had some good actions. He had to score, but there was great combination.”
“We wanted to see that more — more dynamic in the frontline, and that’s the most difficult part. But I have seen some good movements today and in the last couple of games. I’m happy with that.”
On Rashford: “There are more players playing really well, but I’m happy with Marcus, his performance, his development. From the start of the season he is growing, and he keeps doing that. He is responsible for that, to keep this process going. In this spirit, I think he is unstoppable. Then it’s about the team to get him in the right positions.
The Sporting News was following the match, providing live score updates and commentary from the City Ground below.
40th min: Ten Hag’s side have failed to step it up, with the game petering towards half-time without any further clear-cut chances. Gibbs-White, as always, is Forest’s biggest threat. Tenacious in the tackle and pacey in possession, he’s the key if the Reds are to turn this around.
26th min: Gibbs-White plays a superb first-time pass out wide to start another attack, which he can’t quite finish as the return ball catches the back of his boot on the run. Scarpa is then denied a first Forest goal as his volley from the edge of the area is saved, but the crowd have been injected with belief again.
15 mins to KO: For United, this competition represents a huge chance to end a run of six semi-final appearances without lifting silverware.
Two semi-final exits came in the Carabao Cup in 2019/20 and 2020/21, under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. The former also saw them reach the final four of the FA Cup and UEFA Europa League without success, while the latter campaign featured a final defeat in Europe. The Red Devils also lost the FA Cup final in 2017/18.
30 mins to KO: Forest fans have fond memories of the League Cup, though their last appearance in a final came in 1991/92 — a defeat to United, coincidentally.
1 hour 30 mins to KO: While they’ve struggled on the road against top opposition, Forest’s home form versus the ‘Big Six’ has been impressive.
1 hour 45 mins to KO: These teams are meeting for the second time in the last month, having resumed their Premier League campaigns post-World Cup at Old Trafford in late December. United eased to a 3-0 victory on that occasion, despite some fearless early signs from Forest.
2 hours to KO: Welcome to The Sporting News’ live coverage from the East Midlands. Forest have turned the City Ground into a fortress in recent months and are unbeaten at home across all competitions since September 16, knocking out Tottenham Hotspur and Wolverhampton Wanderers in the Carabao Cup.
Ahead of their biggest home cup game in over 30 years, the Forest faithful will play a crucial role in looking to push Cooper’s charges one step closer to the final.
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