Ten Hag hails Man Utd character after 'horror' start against Forest

Bruno Fernandes completed Man Utd's comeback from 2-0 down to beat Nottingham Forest 3-2 (Darren Staples)
Bruno Fernandes completed Man Utd's comeback from 2-0 down to beat Nottingham Forest 3-2 (Darren Staples)

Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag labelled his side's concession of two goals inside four minutes to Nottingham Forest "crazy", but hailed his players for fighting back to win 3-2 on Saturday.

United's unimpressive start to the season looked set to continue when Taiwo Awoniyi broke clear from the home side's corner to open the scoring after 90 seconds.

Less than two minutes later it was 2-0 as Willy Boly was left unmarked from Morgan Gibbs-White's free-kick to head in.

"With all respect to Forest, we can't allow them (the goals)," said Ten Hag. "They were easy give-aways. It's crazy, but sometimes games go like this."

United lost 2-0 to Tottenham last weekend after being dominated by Wolves on home soil, despite escaping with a 1-0 win on the opening weekend of the campaign.

They steadied the ship with a second win in three games.

Cristian Eriksen started the fightback by turning home Marcus Rashford's cross.

Casemiro then levelled from Bruno Fernandes' headed knockdown.

Forest were reduced to 10 men when Joe Worrall saw red for denying Fernandes a clear goalscoring opportunity.

United made the man advantage count as Fernandes slotted home a penalty 14 minutes from time after Rashford was brought down in the area.

"Horror start, but the character of the team was brilliant," added Ten Hag.

"We stayed so calm and so composed. We stuck to our belief, stuck to our plan, played some good football and scored three good goals. It was a great comeback.

"It's a marker, absolutely. We've seen this team can bounce back. If you have such a start, you need to get over it. It's not easy, but compliments to the team.

"We have the personality. In certain moments we can definitely improve, but in general this team has the character to bounce back all the time."

Fernandes has been criticised in his early weeks as club captain for negative body language towards his teammates.

But the Portuguese led the fightback and said United need to iron out their flaws with more consistent displays.

"We know what it means to be a Manchester United player. We know this shirt demands a lot and we are ready for that," said Fernandes.

"The team showed great spirit, passion and desire. We just need to be aware that we can't concede so early.

"It wasn't the perfect start for us but we kept control, kept the ball and started doing the right things."