Erik ten Hag has criticised his team’s ‘easy giveaways’ as Manchester United got off to a horror start against Nottingham Forest, but he has praised his team’s fighting spirit.

Taiwo Awoniyi scored on the counter after United made it all too easy for Forest to break from a corner just two minutes in, and a couple of minutes later it was 2-0 as Willy Boly headed in from a free-kick.

The ease with which Awoniyi ripped past Marcus Rashford, and the complete lack of defensive cover, signalled that the hosts were still weak against quick attacks down the centre, as they have been this season.

However, tap-ins from Cristian Eriksen and Casemiro either side of half-time levelled the scores before Bruno Fernandes converted from the penalty spot to save United on a day where they started slowly.

‘Horror start, but the character of the team was brilliant. 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,’ ten Hag told BBC Match of the Day.

‘With all respect to Forest, we can’t allow them [those goals]. They were easy giveaways. It’s crazy, but sometimes games go like this. As I said, we stayed calm.

‘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.’

Nottingham Forest did their best to stem the flow of goals as United pick up form.

Ten Hag said: ‘The rule is not right. The team was delaying from the start and they were getting rewarded for it.’

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