Ten Hag explains second-leg selection

Wednesday 01 February 2023 19:36

Erik ten Hag has explained his Manchester United line-up to face Nottingham Forest.

The Reds are 3-0 up from the Carabao Cup semi-final first leg and looking to progress to meet Newcastle United in the final at Wembley on 26 February.

The boss has shuffled his pack for the home clash, with new boy Marcel Sabitzer due to watch on from the stands, but Jadon Sancho and Anthony Martial are back in the squad as substitutes.

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Tom Heaton starts in goal, with regular first-choice David De Gea on the bench. It is a second start for the 36-year-old, after he was between the sticks against Charlton Athletic earlier in the competition and also came off the bench against Young Boys in a Champions League tie in 2021.

Raphael Varane and Lisandro Martinez return to form the central defensive partnership, while Luke Shaw is recalled at left-back after illness. Fred replaces ankle-injury victim Christian Eriksen in midfield and the last of six changes sees Alejandro Garnacho on the left wing, with Marcus Rashford rested and on the bench.

The manager told MUTV he hopes he will be able to bring Sancho and Martial on at some point, as they build their way back to full fitness.

"This is the first step," he said of the attacking pair. "They’re back in the match squad now making further steps. Hopefully, we can bring them on today but first it’s about winning the game."

In a separate interview with Sky Sports, he said: "We have a strong selection, a good team. I'm also thinking about routines, so bringing some players back, but not too much. And I think it is also good to have Jadon Sancho back and Anthony Martial back.

"That is good for the team and we will need that for all the games coming up. But the first focus is this game and we have to get to the final. Especially in the front line, you need options to rotate, to keep the squad fresh, and also to make tactical choices between games and in games."