Premier League 2023-24: Manchester United's woes deepen after the Nottingham Forest loss
Manchester United's season woes deepen with a disheartening 2-1 loss against Nottingham Forest, marking their fourth defeat in the last six games.
Manchester United's tumultuous season took another hit as they suffered a disheartening 2-1 defeat against struggling Premier League side Nottingham Forest on Saturday. Despite Marcus Rashford's late equalizer, Morgan Gibbs-White's decisive goal secured the victory for Forest at the City Ground. This loss marked United's fourth in their last six games across all competitions, plunging them to seventh place in the Premier League, trailing nine points behind the top four.
United's recent comeback win against Aston Villa had sparked hopes of a turnaround, especially with billionaire Jim Ratcliffe's investment in the club. Ratcliffe's INEOS Group acquired a 25 percent stake in United, aiming to take control from the Glazer family. However, the defeat against Forest raises questions about the effectiveness of the new regime, potentially casting doubts on manager Erik ten Hag's future.
INEOS's head of sport Dave Brailsford, alongside former boss Alex Ferguson, witnessed the defeat, signaling potential challenges ahead for Ten Hag. The loss to Forest, the first since 1994, underscores the need for significant improvement in United's results and performances under Ten Hag's management.
While Forest moved five points clear of the relegation zone under manager Nuno Espirito Santo's guidance, United struggled to find rhythm and cohesion on the field. The team's lackluster performance, coupled with defensive lapses, contributed to their downfall against a team that had conceded the most goals in the Premier League in 2023.
Despite glimpses of promise from players like Elanga, Ten Hag's squad failed to impress, with passes going astray and a lack of incisive attacking play. The absence of striker Rasmus Hojlund due to illness further hampered United's options, and Rashford, playing as the central striker, failed to make a convincing impact.
Forest's Gonzalo Montiel and Morgan Gibbs-White exploited United's defensive vulnerabilities, leading to goals that ultimately sealed the fate of the match. The Forest fans taunted Ten Hag with chants of "you're getting sacked in the morning," emphasising the pressure on the underperforming manager.
Even though Turner's error gifted United a lifeline with Rashford's goal, Gibbs-White's sublime strike in the 82nd minute secured the victory for Forest. The turmoil at United continues, with the team facing an uphill battle to salvage their season and meet the expectations of their new ownership.