Ten Hag pays tribute to ‘unstoppable’ Rashford as Manchester United set foot in the final

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Erik ten Hag praised “unstoppable” Marcus Rashford after the Manchester United forward’s 10th goal in 10 games left Nottingham Forest’s Steve Cooper admitting their Carabao Cup semi-final is almost over.

After their 3-0 win at the City Ground, the United manager was pleased with the way his side responded to Sunday’s Premier League defeat at Arsenal that left them 11 points behind the Premier League leaders. But he came as close as he gets to an emotional outburst as he assessed Rashford’s remarkable progress, confirmed by a brilliant opening goal here as he ran half the length of the pitch and between two Forest defenders before switching the ball from the right foot to the left. to score.

Related: Rashford eases Manchester United to first win over Nottingham Forest

“There are several players who are playing really well, but I am happy with Marcus, his performance and his development,” said Ten Hag. “From the start of the season he is growing and continues to do so. We’ve got to keep his process going and if he’s in that mood and spirit, I think he’s unstoppable.

“It’s up to the team to get him in the right positions. In possession we have a plan (but it’s up to some players) like Rashy, Bruno (Fernandes) and Christian Eriksen to be creative in the final third and do something , no one expects, some crazy stuff.”

Forest could be forgiven for focusing on their next Premier League game away to Leeds a week on Sunday and Cooper accepts the second leg at Old Trafford next Wednesday will be about more than trying to pull off a miracle comeback.

“It’s going to be incredibly difficult,” he said. “It was supposed to be anyway, but it will be three times that now. We have to set some goals so that we come out of the next game better than we go into it.”

Ten Hag were also delighted to see Wout Weghorst score his first goal for United, but took as a warning the counter-attack that allowed Forest to think they had equalized before Sam Surridge was ruled offside. “There was a moment that could have changed it and we have to avoid that,” he said. “It’s a learning moment to develop a really good team (after) the first 20 minutes were ours. Then we allow them to get back into the game and that can’t happen, it’s a learning moment. The second half was much better, much calmer.”

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