Erik ten Hag believes Antony has done enough since his summer transfer to Manchester United, despite recent criticism aimed at the winger.
After months of speculation, Brazil international landed at Old Trafford in a transfer worth up to £85.5 million from Ajax, where he thrived under Ten Hag’s tutelage.
The 23-year-old scored 12 goals and assisted 10 times in all competitions for the Dutch giants but has struggled to reproduce the same explosive performances that sparked United’s interest since moving to the Premier League.
The former Sao Paolo youth has also received harsh criticism from various experts, including Old Trafford legend Paul Scholes.
Antony’s boss, on the other hand, is pleased with the contributions he has made in his first season in English football, even if he believes the winger is capable of more in front of goal.
Ten Hag was asked following Manchester United’s 2-0 win against Everton on Saturday whether he thought players in the team were capable of stepping up to relieve the goalscoring pressure on top-scorer Marcus Rashford or whether he needed fresh blood.
“Perhaps both,” the Dutchman said. I believe they can. Antony has already scored a couple of goals – maybe seven or eight goals – in major games, which isn’t terrible for a winger, is it? During his rookie season. Also against major opponents like Barcelona and [Real] Betis.
“[Jadon] Sancho has a break, [Anthony] Martial can definitely do it, and Bruno [Fernandes] is also available.” He’s currently playing in a deeper spot, so he’s further away from the goal, but we have goal scorers in our lineup. We need to improve our scoring powers, but we also need to consider the transfer market.”
As Ten Hag mentioned, Antony has scored some important goals for Manchester United this season, and his tally of seven goals in all competitions (along with three assists) is a respectable return, but his actual performances have left some disappointed.
Last Saturday, he suffered the full fury of the United supporters as he was chastised for slowing down an attack while Ten Hag’s team was seeking a goal at St James’ Park in a match they eventually lost 2-0.
The perplexing incident concluded an unsatisfactory performance, as Antony was hauled off by Ten Hag on the hour mark, not long after his rash decision to use the handbrake.
Antony was brought off after an hour in Sunday’s 2-0 win over Everton, but he was significantly more effective, with Scholes – who has previously been critical of the winger’s performances – declaring that it was the “best game” he has seen Antony have since joining the club.