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Erik ten Hag says Man Utd ‘have to do everything to bring a trophy in’ ahead of Carabao Cup semi-final

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Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag gestures on the touchline during the Premier League match at the Emirates Stadium, London. Picture date: Sunday January 22, 2023. PA Photo. See PA story SOCCER Arsenal. Photo credit should read: John Walton/PA Wire.

RESTRICTIONS: EDITORIAL USE ONLY No use with unauthorised audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 120 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications.

Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag gestures on the touchline during the Premier League match at the Emirates Stadium, London. Picture date: Sunday January 22, 2023. PA Photo. See PA story SOCCER Arsenal. Photo credit should read: John Walton/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: EDITORIAL USE ONLY No use with unauthorised audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 120 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications.

Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag gestures on the touchline during the Premier League match at the Emirates Stadium, London. Picture date: Sunday January 22, 2023. PA Photo. See PA story SOCCER Arsenal. Photo credit should read: John Walton/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: EDITORIAL USE ONLY No use with unauthorised audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 120 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications.

Erik ten Hag pledged to do everything in his power to help Manchester United end their worst trophy drought in 40 years ahead of the Carabao Cup semi-final clash at Nottingham Forest.

The Old Trafford giants are synonymous with silverware but have not added to their cabinet since beating Ajax to lift the Europa League title aloft in Stockholm in 2017.


United have reached the semi-final stage of various competitions on six occasions since then, going onto lose in the 2018 FA Cup final and 2021 Europa League showpiece.

Ten Hag's improving side are now two matches away from their shot at glory and ending their six-year wait for silverware - a relative drought last experienced between 1977 and 1983.

"It's the best feeling you can have winning a trophy," the United boss, who won the Eredivisie with Ajax last season, said.

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Nottingham Forest manager Steve Cooper.

Nottingham Forest manager Steve Cooper.

Nottingham Forest manager Steve Cooper.

"I had the luck in my career to win some trophies and it's magnificent, especially for the fans.

"It's so great and I think the fans here have some experience, especially the older ones.

"But now it is a period Manchester United didn't win trophies and it is too long ago.

"We are aware of that fact and we have to do everything to bring a trophy in."

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United kick off the two-legged semi-final on Wednesday night at what is sure to be a rocking City Ground. The Red Devils have not played there since 1999, when Ole Gunnar Solskjaer scored four off the bench in an 8-1 win.

"It's a long time ago (since United played there) eh?" Ten Hag said. "But I think we like that - a fanatic audience is nice to play for.

"It will be a good atmosphere and I think it will motivate the players and we have to get ready for that.

"It's about winning trophies, so we have a good opportunity, but you have to go game from game, so now we play Forest, two legs, so focus on the first leg.

"Don't think further, don't think further ahead because that will distract, so the aim for tomorrow is win that game."

United are looking to get back to winning ways after a pair of frustrating Premier League trips to the capital.

Michael Olise's late free-kick sealed Crystal Palace a 1-1 draw last Wednesday, with Eddie Nketiah striking at the death as table-topping Arsenal triumphed 3-2 on Sunday.

"We left it behind," Ten Hag said of the Emirates Stadium loss that left him critical of some of his side's defending.

"We set the right conclusions then we have to move forward and quickly because tomorrow is a big game so focus on that."

Asked if defence is an area of concern, Ten Hag said: "No, because I think a lot of games we did very well.

"We have a lot of clean sheets. Against Man City we defended very well.

"I think, in general, also in Arsenal, we defended very well. They didn't get clean shots. There was only one time from a free-kick.

"For the rest, it was only shots, cutbacks, shots from distance, there was a lot of defenders from us in-between the ball and the goal.

"That's what I meant - all the goals were avoidable so it can't happen. That was my point.

"When you concede three goals in a top game, then it's really difficult to win a game. That's what happens so that is one of the conclusions.

"It can't happen. We set that conclusion, we talked about, we showed them, we have to learn and to take this lesson."

Casemiro returns from suspension against Forest, but Anthony Martial, Diogo Dalot and Jadon Sancho will be absent once more.

Ten Hag added: "All the players who were not available for the Arsenal game, so Dalot, Martial, Sancho, are also not available for tomorrow."Forest host United in the first leg tomorrow, then will head to Old Trafford for the second encounter a week later having not had a game in between due to exiting the FA Cup in the third round 4-1 at Blackpool.

Boss Cooper told a press conference today: "It's not been an easy ride for sure to get to the semi-final, and we've treated it like every other game, one we want to do well in and win.

"Unfortunately we're out of the FA Cup, we're not very proud of that and the way we went about it, but these two games now fall in a two-week Premier League break.

"There's enough recovery and preparation time to be ready for these games, there's no doubt about that. The two games have actually come at a good time.

"It's a semi-final, we really want to commit to it, we really want to attack it. Obviously it's Man United, it's over two legs, incredibly tough games - but ones we want to have no regrets about.

"We're in the semi-final of an important cup. I think we should go into it thinking they don't come along very often, so treat it like it might be the last one.

"There's a real good feeling about the semi-final in the city, the stadium will obviously be the atmosphere that it's been every single game so far this season, which has been incredible, and we should really embrace that."

Forest played Erik ten Hag's United away in the league in December, losing 3-0, and Cooper added: "We felt that we didn't play with enough belief and courage in the game.

"It was going to be hard whatever, and we might have played better and still got nothing out of the game. But we did walk off the pitch thinking we could have done a bit better there, and I don't want that in these games, I don't want any regrets.

"We're feeling a good pressure of wanting to do well, and I just want to make sure we go into the games with a real positive mindset, I want the players to believe they can succeed.

"Of course we'll respect United and their strengths and there's many of them, they're dangerous in so many ways. But we have to believe we can play well in this game and that we can have a positive contribution."

Forest - four-time League Cup winners, who were last in the semis en route to finishing runners-up in 1992 - have been assessing midfielder Ryan Yates, who came off feeling unwell during Saturday's 1-1 draw at Bournemouth.

Former United man Jesse Lingard could make his return to action, having been back in the Forest matchday squad after a hamstring injury as an unused substitute at the Vitality Stadium.

Goalkeeper Dean Henderson, who is on loan from United, is both ineligible and injured, having been ruled out for four to five weeks after sustaining a thigh issue against Leicester on January 14.

Wayne Hennessey came into the side on Saturday, while the club weigh up whether to bring in a new goalkeeper following Henderson's injury.


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