Nuno Espirito Santo claimed Nottingham Forest “controlled” Manchester United during their 2-1 win in the Premier League on Saturday night.

Second-half goals from Nicolas Dominguez and Morgan Gibbs-White cancelled out Marcus Rashford’s equaliser to hand Forest a second win in three games under Santo, lifting them up to 15th and five points clear of the relegation zone.

The victory comes soon after Chris Wood’s hat-trick inspired a 3-2 success at Newcastle on Boxing Day and the newly-installed manager praised his players for showing steel, especially after Matt Turner’s blunder gifted the Red Devils a route back into the game.

FBL-ENG-PR-NOTTINGHAM FOREST-MAN UTD

Gibbs-White scored Forest’s winner / DARREN STAPLES/GettyImages

“I think we played good,” Santo said. “In the first half we controlled the game but didn’t create many chances.

“We controlled Manchester United, we know where they have quality. It’s about being together. The players did well.

“We had shots in the first half but needed more accuracy. I think the second half it changed, we created more and then the first goal is a good combination and a fantastic finish. We conceded but it’s my responsibility. You can say Matt [Turner] did not do well, but they tried to play with the idea.

“The way the players bounced back from that moment showed their character. Knowing every moment in the game is special. Not only with the ball but without the ball.

“The secret is the way the players are working. We are here 11 days so the credit is for them and the way they fight as a team.

“I think we started good and had good tempo. We controlled Manchester United. They have a lot of talent and we didn’t allow them the space to play and I think it was a deserved win.”

The defeat provided a final bleak note on which to end Man Utd’s 2023. A ninth Premier League defeat of the season leaves Erik ten Hag’s side down in seventh, with the Dutch manager hopeful of recovering key squad members from injury to revive their fortunes in the second half of the campaign.

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