220823 Ten Hag
Manchester United's coach Erik ten Hag will feel confident his side can make the EFL Cup final. Image Credit: AP

Dubai: Nottingham Forest will be looking for a miracle tomorrow night when they head to Old Trafford to face Manchester United in the second leg of the EFL Cup semi-final.

Forest are trailing 3-0 after the first leg at the City Ground and could have lost by an even bigger margin. Steve Cooper’s side will have to do something no team has ever done before in the EFL Cup by overturning a three-goal deficit in the semis but the Forest faithful know it will be near impossible.

Best run

Still, a semi-final exit will mark the team’s best run in the EFL Cup for 31 years. They made it to the final in 1991-92 where they lost, coincidentally, to United.

United are favourites to reach Wembley assuming they avoid a calamitous collapse. Marcus Rashford, Wout Weghorst and Bruno Fernandes were all on target in the first leg to give Erik Ten Hag a comfortable lead and the coach might be tempted to rest some of his stars what with one foot already in the final.

The Dutchman is no stranger to winning trophies during his time in charge of Ajax and he is now just 180 minutes away from clinching The Red Devils’ first piece of silverware since 2017 where they won the EFL Cup and the Europa League. United, who are on a whopping 19 games scoring streak across all competitions, are also in the FA Cup fifth round and a cup double looks doable this season.

Ten Hag will be without Christian Eriksen who suffered an ankle injury against Reading in the FA Cup fourth round. The midfielder looks set to be out for several months while Donny van de Beek, Axel Tuanzebe, Anthony Martial and Diogo Dalot will also miss out. Jadon Sancho has been back in training for the past two weeks and could make the bench while Scott McTominay and Luke Shaw could be recalled after they both missed the FA Cup clash. Fred will likely fill in for Eriksen while Ten Hag may hand starts to the likes of Anthony Elanga and Alejandro Garnacho.

Ankle injury

Forest attacker Morgan Gibbs-White is also nursing an ankle injury but Cooper will hope he is fit for tomorrow while former United star Jesse Lingard could start up front. Definitely out are Moussa Niakhate, Giulian Biancone, Taiwo Awoniyi, Cheikhou Kouyate, Omar Richards and Dean Henderson.

United are on good form and with a three-goal cushion and home advantage they should stroll to Wembley. But, if Forest grab an early goal then we could be in for an exciting night.