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Starting XI: Nottingham Forest vs. Manchester United

11 talking points before Manchester United’s clash with Nottingham

Manchester United Training Session Photo by Matthew Peters/Manchester United via Getty Images

Here are the eleven key points you should know before tomorrow’s Nottingham Forest clash:

(1) Manchester United will hope to cement their stride in finishing in the top four spots as fifth-placed Tottenham stay on course to catch up. The defeat to Newcastle United earlier this month took the wind down the sails and made The Reds lose their 3rd spot in the league standings. Though both the Magpies and United remain tied on points, Ten Hag’s men will need to get the most out of the next few games to ensure safe passage to the Champions League qualification for next season.

(2) The Red Devils approach this match on the back of a frustrating 2-2 draw with Sevilla in the Europa League quarter-finals first leg. New loanee signing Marcel Sabitzer made his mark after scoring two goals within the span of seven minutes, thus giving United a strong first-half lead. However, The Reds couldn’t hold their composure and fell prey to a resilient Sevilla side who administered a late collapse to the Old Trafford dwellers. Own goals from Tyrell Malacia and Harry Maguire haunted the crowd as the day ended frustratingly for the hosts.

(3) Manchester United already hold a domineering record this season against tomorrow’s opposition in all competitions, beating them thrice, once in the Premier League and the other two across the two legs in the League Cup knockouts. They will hope to impose a 100 per cent win record against Forest for this season in tomorrow’s clash.

(4) Erik Ten Hag completed his 50th game in charge as Manchester United manager in the Sevilla match. Though it didn’t go very well for the Dutchman and his side, the job he has over this season has been a commendable one. The boss has urged that Champions League qualification are what he and his side are looking to secure and to stay on course to that goal, United will need to come big in the business end of the season.

(5) Following a knock in their last match, defenders Raphael Varane and Lisandro Martinez are ruled out of the Premier League clash. Ten Hag said that he doesn’t have a clear diagnosis of their injuries but a more clear picture is expected soon. He said:

“No, sorry, [I do not know any more information]. It is not even 24 hours [since the Sevilla match] so I don’t have complete diagnosis. So I can’t tell [the severity of the injuries] in this moment.

“When we have news we will give it straight to you. But let’s do the medical, do their assessments and full diagnose, complete diagnose, and then we will give you the news. But I think it doesn’t change in this moment.”

(6) Despite the absences of Varane and Martinez, the Dutch manager will have depth on his side and the likes of Luke Shaw and Victor Lindelof are in contention to start the game alongside club captain Harry Maguire.

“We have now two sessions to go of training, so I don’t know by now. But it can be that Scott and Luke return in the squad, but [we are] not sure.”

(7) The boss provided his preview of the game and explained that the Nottingham clash will be the best way to shrug off the blues carried from the frustrating 2-2 draw with Sevilla. He said:

“We have depth in the squad. We have to use the squad – that’s also what we did yesterday. In the meantime, you have to win games so also you have to have a tactical approach to win games, but I think we have good players and when we have problems – injuries and suspensions – we have depth in the squad.

(8) Since winning 1-0 against Leeds United at the start of February, Nottingham Forest haven’t been able to record a single win in each of their last nine games. They will hope to not extend that run to 10 games in a row but they are set to face a gigantic task in even securing a draw against United.

(9) Despite making a record number of signings at the start of the season, Steve Cooper’s men haven’t found much success in their league stride and remain in 18th place tied in points with Everton who are in safety for now. Though they have managed to secure crucial draws and even a win against Liverpool at home, they still need to grind hard to secure survival.

(10) Manager Steve Cooper ruled out the availability of Renan Lodi and Gustavo Scarpa for the match. He said:

“Since Leeds, Scarpa has got injured and Lodi has got injured. Renan [Lodi] had a kick in training which is going to keep him out for a little bit.

(11) Cheikhou Kouyate and Moussa Niakhate were substituted off after picking up possible hamstring injuries against Aston Villa last week, they are set to remain sidelined. Scott Mckenna and former United man Jesse Lingard are expected to start the match.