Antony makes Man United a better side when he plays, according to Erik ten Hag.
Manchester United Football Club take on Nottingham Forest in their Carabao Cup first leg this evening, with a place in the Wembley showpiece at stake.
Erik ten Hag has conducted his pre-match press conference ahead of that game – defending a player who divides opinion in the process; Antony.
The Brazil international has scored some important goals and played some good games, though, on the other hand, there have been some poor moments from the winger who cost United in excess of £80million.
Before the game this evening, Ten Hag has claimed that United are a better team when the 22-year-old is on the pitch. Given the state of the current squad, I do tend to agree.
Check out what the gaffer had to say on Antony in full here:
“When he’s playing, the team is winning. That already gives a message of how well he is performing,” said Ten Hag, per ManUtd.com.
“He can do better, I see space for improvement. For instance, and I think also you know this, we want him to be more direct and be more involved. But, as I said, the team is performing better if he is on the pitch.
“That’s a good thing, that’s a good base to build further. I think he has already made an improvement. In his first three [league] games, he scored three goals. Now he was scoring against Everton, he was scoring against Charlton, so also that fact, he has an impact. But I think with his capabilities, with his talents, he can do even more. But as I said, I think he has [made] a good contribution in the team.”
It comes as no surprise that when Antony plays, United’s results are better. He’s not this speedster, direct winger who’ll cut right at the heart of defences, instead, his game is more controlled and planned.
He’s better in retention of the ball than most wingers, while he’s deadly as soon as he gets the opportunity to cut in on that wicked left-foot.
Where I am concerned is the fact that he is so one-sided. The lack of any sort of ability with his right-hand side does make him predictable and opposing defenders will know that.
As things stand, though, he should be starting matches regularly. United aren’t blessed with a whole host of options in that right-wing position, meaning Antony will be given the next six months to further develop and grow as a player while starting week-in-week-out. That can only be a good thing moving forward.
As fans, it’s our job to support and remain patient. The social media attack on Antony, from United followers, seems a little unfair right now. Plus, if the player sees that criticism, it’s good for absolutely nobody.
Do you think Man United are better with Antony in the team? Let us know your thoughts in the comment box below.