Nottingham Forest v Manchester United preview

Erik ten Hag embraces the pressure of Manchester United’s bid for Champions League qualification ahead of their Premier League meeting with Nottingham Forest.

United are three points behind the top four with a game in hand ahead of the resumption of the competition and will be bidding for a fifth win in six home league games next time out.

While Ten Hag accepts the Red Devils are under pressure to claim a top-four finish, he embraces those expectations and relishes what is likely to be a tough battle in the coming months.

“We are aware that the competition is tough, but I think it counts for all the seven or eight clubs fighting for the top four,” Ten Hag said.

“For anyone who follows the Premier League, it’s great because there will be tension there, you really have to fight in every single duel to get your points.

“It’s a lot of pressure to get into the Champions League, that’s clear. You want to be in the top four and you want to fight for trophies and that’s our goal. That’s clear.”

If Forest are to cause a huge upset at Old Trafford, former United man Jesse Lingard’s attacking quality could prove crucial.

Boss Steve Cooper has urged the 30-year-old to play the game, rather than the occasion, on his first return to United.

“I hope we are all motivated to go to Old Trafford and play well. Jesse was there for a long time so it will be an important day for him,” he said.

“At the same time he and everyone else has to focus on what we have control over and that is the performance.

“Jesse has experience, he has played on big occasions before and he will know that the best thing to do is to concentrate on football. If he is selected to play, that is what he has to do.”


Manchester United – Anthony Martial

United have scored more goals from quick breaks than any other team in the Premier League this season (five) and with Cristiano Ronaldo a distant memory at Old Trafford, speedy striker Martial will be desperate to make an impact.

Nottingham Forest – Jesse Lingard

Lingard scored 20 goals in 149 Premier League games for United between 2014 and 2022 – this could be his first ever game against his former side in the competition. Could he come back to haunt the Red Devils?


– Manchester United have won their last six meetings with Nottingham Forest in all competitions, with this their first game against them since an 8-1 victory at the City Ground in February 1999.

– Nottingham Forest have lost four of their five Premier League away games against Manchester United, with the exception of a 2-1 win in December 1994 as a promotion side. That victory accounted for 50 per cent of the total goals United conceded at Old Trafford in the league that season.

– Manchester United have lost just six of their 89 Premier League home games against promoted sides (W68 D15) – against Nottingham Forest (December 1994), Derby County (April 1997), Middlesbrough (December 1998), Bolton Wanderers (October 2001), Norwich City (December 2015) and Cardiff City (May 2019).

– Nottingham Forest have won their last league game in just one of the last eight calendar years (D2 L5), beating Wigan Athletic 1-0 at home in their last game of 2019.

– With just two points and a goal difference of -18, Nottingham Forest have the worst away record in the Premier League so far this season. They have scored just once in their seven away games so far, with Brennan Johnson scoring 1-1 against Everton.

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