Martinez: We're not through yet
Manchester United defender Lisandro Martinez warns the Reds are “not done yet” in the Carabao Cup semi-final, ahead of next week's second leg against Nottingham Forest.
United managed to notch a 3-0 victory at The City Ground with goals from Marcus Rashford, Wout Weghorst and Bruno Fernandes, giving Erik ten Hag’s men a major advantage going into the return match at Old Trafford next Wednesday.
Speaking to Sky Sports and MUTV, United’s World Cup-winning centre-back says that despite the three-goal lead, the Reds must remain focused when facing Forest at the Theatre of Dreams, citing last week's results against Crystal Palace and Arsenal as reasons to be careful.
“You never know,” said Licha. “You have to keep focused.
“We have to work on the next game [against Reading on Saturday] and then we have to think about the other leg. It is not done yet and we have to keep going.
“I think everyone worked really hard and you can see now the last two games were unlucky. We did an amazing job, but we have to keep going. You can see when we don’t do the right things, we can concede goals. And then we control the game. Like I said, we have many things to improve and we have to keep going.”
Licha played alongside Victor Lindelof at The City Ground. The pair have started only nine times together this season - five in the Europa League, three in the Premier League and once in the Carabao Cup - but have now helped to keep four clean sheets in those games.
Both defenders had great performances in shutting out Forest and Martinez said that he and the Swedish centre-half have worked well together in training.
“In the training with each other I think we are doing a really good job. And that is most important, when we need a player [to come into the team], you need to be there, you have to be ready. And Victor did very well.”
United bounced back well after not winning either of the previous two away games - the frustrating 1-1 draw against Crystal Palace, followed by a last-gasp 3-2 defeat to Premier League leaders Arsenal. After those results, Martinez stated that the players needed to remain calm and control the game to have a good outcome against Forest.
“We really needed this result. I think we showed many good things but we also have a lot to improve. But it is a good result, I think we controlled the game today. But we have to keep going and also keep calm.
“[We conceded] against Crystal Palace in the last minute, against Arsenal as well. But we never give up. Today we did a really good job, we won the game and that is most important.”
Wout Weghorst picked up his first goal for the club, bagging the second of the game after pouncing on Antony’s rebounded shot to double the Reds' advantage. It came just three days after Martinez also got off the mark for United.
When asked about what the moment will have meant to the Dutch forward, Licha said he was happy for the Reds' new signing.
“As a striker, he lives for the goal. And I am happy for him because he is training very well as well. We need it, that confidence, and I am happy he scored today.”