THE NOTEBOOK: Roy Keane says he deserves the PUNCH he took from Brian Clough as City Ground legends return for a slice of history… as Casemiro shows Forest newcomer Danilo how it’s done
Erik ten Hag took a step closer to silverware in his debut season at Manchester United, as his side beat Nottingham Forest 3-0 in the first leg of the Carabao Cup semi-final on Wednesday.
The Red Devils took a healthy lead in the second leg at Old Trafford and look poised for a return to Wembley, thanks to goals from Marcus Rashford, Wout Weghorst and Bruno Fernandes.
Sportsmail’s TOM COLLOMOSSE describes some of the main talking points and things you may have missed from the City Ground…
Erik ten Hag took a big step towards the final as Man United beat Nottingham Forest 3-0
Keane: Clough should punch me
In one of their highest profile fixtures of the modern era, there were plenty of reminders of Forest’s glorious past.
Stuart Pearce and Steve Hodge, part of the League Cup winning sides of 1989 and 1990, shared a warm hug in the Main Stand an hour before kick-off.
Roy Keane is part of the Sky Sports panel while John McGovern, Garry Birtles and Nigel Jemson still attend almost every home game.
Roy Keane admits he deserved a post-match punch from former Forest manager Brian Clough
There is even a Premier League-winning captain in Wes Morgan, although unfortunately for Forest he lifted the trophy for their East Midlands rivals Leicester in 2016.
Keane offered a brilliant insight into Brian Clough’s style. ‘He punched me after a game once, but it was probably the right thing to do,’ he reflected.
‘The odd blow didn’t do any damage. I gave a short backpass against Crystal Palace that led to an equalizer — which was not my fault — and after the match, he punched me!’
Jungle hero Steve Hodge (pictured with Brian Laws, left) attended the City Ground
One for the more rabid fans…
Club shops can be full of unique and wonderful gifts and the dartboard in the Forest shop catches the eye. Bearing the club badge as well as the words ‘Nottingham Forest’ and ‘The Tricky Trees’, it can be yours for £75.
For the more angry fan, it’s a perfect opportunity to vent their frustrations on pictures of their least favorite players.
Wout’s presence gives Bruno freedom
The traditional No 9 up top for Manchester United in Wout Weghorst means Bruno Fernandes has more freedom to roam around the pitch and affect matches all over the field.
Before Weghorst, Fernandes had to add three more fronts and bomb the penalty area. But his touch map last night (left) shows his importance at both ends of the pitch.
Target man Wout Weghorst is helping to bring out the best in Man United star Bruno Fernandes
Happy memories for United
It was Manchester United’s first visit to the City Ground since 1999, when Ole Gunnar Solskjaer scored four in an 8-1 win for Sir Alex Ferguson’s side — although the Norwegian only came on in the 72nd minute .
United heading for a treble, Forest in the second tier.
Dan is good but Casemiro is king
Forest’s recent signing Danilo looks promising at the base of a midfield diamond, even if the master of that position is in the Manchester United team.
United’s Casemiro put in a dominant performance at the base of midfield at the City Ground
As if to assert his superiority, Casemiro sent his fellow Brazilian off midway through the first half to thwart the Nottingham Forest attack.
Playing at the top of the diamond, Morgan GibbsWhite asked Casemiro plenty of questions in the first half and teed up Sam Surridge’s Forest goal which was ruled fractionally offside.
But after winning a duel with Gibbs-White on the stroke of half-time, Casemiro strode forward and set up Antony for a shot that was only parried by keeper Wayne Hennessey. On-loan Burnley striker Wout Weghorst did the rest to register his first United goal.