Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag said Jadon Sancho can be a decisive player for the team after the winger returned to action in Wednesday’s 2-0 League Cup semi-final second leg win over Nottingham Forest.

Sancho, who spent three months out due to physical and mental wellbeing issues, received a rousing reception from the Old Trafford crowd when he was introduced as a second-half substitute for his first appearance since Oct. 22.

The forward has struggled for form since joining United in July 2021 but Ten Hag said he could make a real difference to the side.

“He has really high standards, he has great capabilities to contribute to our team and the team is improving ... Most importantly players (have to) enjoy football, which gives energy, that gives them the motivation to act and to perform,“ he added.

“The reception from the fans to him was great and that will give him even more a push to continue in the way he is now acting. We see that smile and hopefully he can keep that and contribute to the team because when he is in form he is important to us.”

United, who earned a 5-0 aggregate win over Forest, will look to end a six-year trophy drought when they face Newcastle United in the final at Wembley Stadium on Feb. 26. -Reuters