Erik ten Hag has admitted Antony can showboat if it’s “functional,” but that he’ll “correct” his player if not.
Much of the talk after Manchester United’s 3-0 win over Sheriff Tiraspol was about what Antony did in the 37th minute. Receiving the ball in space on the right, the winger did two full spins before putting too much weight on a pass, putting it out of play.
While many fans enjoyed the showboating, others were less impressed, with BT Sport commentator Robbie Savage calling it “embarrassing.”
When asked for his thoughts on it, Ten Hag insisted he didn’t have a problem if such skills served a purpose, but would call his player out if that wasn’t the case.
“I don’t have a problem with that as long as it’s functional,” he said after the match.
“Also from him I demand more – more runs behind, more often in the box, more followers in and more tempo dribbles, especially, and more playing in the pocket. So, we demand more dominance in this game and when there is a trick like that, it’s nice.
“As long as it’s functional, if you’re not losing the ball and you’re attracting players, then it’s OK, but if it’s a trick because of a trick, then I will correct him”
Antony was hooked at half-time, prompting speculation that he was being punished by Ten Hag for the trick, but the United boss has revealed that was the plan all along.
“It was more or less planned,” Ten Hag said. “I wanted to see Cristiano [Ronaldo] and [Marcus] Rashford close together, it was one of the reasons.
“And [Alejandro] Garnacho was playing quite well, so it was good to see. It was more or less planned.”