Nottingham Forest vs Manchester United (Away) Preview
Manchester United will be pitting their persistence against the struggling Nottingham Forest at the City Ground, in a bid to consolidate their position in the top four of the Premier League.
Currently, United are tentatively placed in the fourth position of the table, with the aspiring Tottenham Hotspur lagging behind in fifth by a marginal distance of three points.
Conversely, the beleaguered Nottingham Forest is facing a tumultuous period as they are struggling to find their footing and are currently placed in the unenviable 18th position of the Premier League table. They have the ignominy of holding the worst goal difference in the division (-30), with four losses in their previous five Premier League games.
Putting aside Nottingham Forest having a considerable home record, with only two losses in their previous 14 games, it is worth mentioning that Manchester United have had an upper hand over Nottingham Forest in their previous encounters this season. They have won all three of their matches, two being in the EFL cup, one in the league whilst also keeping recurring clean sheets in addition to scoring eight goals without conceding a single one.
Looking ahead to the upcoming game against Nottingham Forest, Ten Hag noted that they were in survival mode and would be tough opponents. Despite Forest’s recent poor form and winless streak in the Premier League, Ten Hag emphasized that they will be a formidable adversary and will be more than ready for the fight this weekend. He also said "If you want to find excuses or set excuses, then you don’t have to play for United and you have to look for another club" as Manchester United prepare to face Nottingham Forest.
Ten Hag was asked about the challenges of managing a team's energy levels. With a grueling schedule and tough opponents ahead, the manager acknowledged that fatigue could be a concern. However, he remained confident in the team's depth and ability to rise to the occasion when needed.
The manager provided an update on the team's injury concerns, including the devastating news that Lisandro Martinez will be ruled out for the remainder of the season after fracturing a metatarsal bone in his foot. This is a huge blow to the team's defensive line, as Martinez had been a key player for them this season. To compound matters, Martinez's defensive partner Raphael Varane was also substituted with an injury at half-time in the same game and is expected to be out for a few weeks. Without these two important players, the remainder of the season just became a lot harder for Manchester United..
Speaking of player performance, Ten Hag was asked about Martial's recent showing. While he acknowledged that there were positives to take away from the game, he emphasized that the team shape was a reflection of the collective effort, not just one player's performance. With a focus on teamwork and communication, Ten Hag looks to continue building on the team's strengths and minimizing their weaknesses.
Finally, he spoke about the importance of having experienced players like Varane and Casemiro on the team. With their leadership and experience winning silverware, Ten Hag believes they can help guide the team to success.
United can bolster their top four standing with a win against Nottingham Forest, leapfrogging Newcastle into third with a three-point cushion as Newcastle's recent 3-0 loss to Aston Villa left them vulnerable. Fans hold their breath with bated anticipation as they anxiously await the performance of their team's remaining competitions.