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Erik ten Hag once called out £82m Man Utd flop for not ‘focusing on football’

Erik ten Hag’s Past Clash with Manchester United’s Antony Revealed

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Erik ten Hag, the current Manchester United manager, had a previous encounter with United winger Antony during their time at Ajax. Ten Hag did not mince words, urging the Brazilian winger to prioritize his football performance.

Ten Hag took the helm at Manchester United in the summer of 2022, ending a successful five-year stint at Ajax. His arrival at Old Trafford coincided with the signings of former Ajax players Lisandro Martinez and the £82 million arrival of Antony.

However, the relationship between Ten Hag and Antony has seen its fair share of challenges. The Dutchman had previously criticized Antony for his subpar performances and decision-making, factors that have been scrutinized and linked to his struggles at United.

After Ajax’s 2-0 victory over AZ Alkmaar in the Dutch Cup semi-final in March 2022, Ten Hag publicly admonished Antony for his performance and cautioned him against showboating in the future. Ten Hag stated, “He must focus on football. He was a constant threat, but he needs to convert that into results and not be concerned with fancy tricks or embellishments. He needs to play more effectively because he had opportunities to provide the final pass. It was evident that he was very dangerous, and on one hand, I enjoyed his speed, pressure, and the threat of his dribbles, but he could have achieved more with his play.”

In contrast, United’s current winger, Jadon Sancho, publicly criticized his manager after being called out for subpar training performances, leading to his exclusion from the squad for United’s match against Arsenal and later his removal from the first team. Antony, on the other hand, responded differently by expressing his respect for Ten Hag and his determination to prove his manager wrong by improving in training.

Antony told Dutch outlet De Telegraaf, “Under his guidance, every player becomes a better footballer through his training. Since my arrival, he has shown great confidence in me and believed in my abilities. I am grateful for that, and I have immense respect for him.”

The connection between Ten Hag and Antony led South American football expert Tim Vickery to predict that Antony would follow Ten Hag to Old Trafford. Vickery said, “As soon as Ten Hag moved to Old Trafford, I thought, ‘he’s going to bring Antony with him,’ because Ten Hag has done an outstanding job developing this player.”

Antony is currently unavailable for selection by Ten Hag due to a mutually agreed leave of absence following allegations of assault by his ex-girlfriend, which are under investigation by authorities in the UK and Brazil. Antony has denied these allegations.

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