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Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Erik ten Hag makes huge Antony statement as scrutiny continues –

Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag has thrown his support by Antony amid mounting pressure over the Brazilian’s underwhelming performances.

The 24-year-old became one of United’s most expensive ever signings when he joined from Ajax in a deal worth in excess of £80m, but he’s yet to fire in English football.

Antony hasn’t scored a goal or assisted a teammate this season, and has subsequently lost his place in United’s side.

With Rasmus Hojlund out injured, Ten Hag opted to hand Omari Forson a first Premier League start against Fulham on Saturday instead of recalling Antony – a decision that has seen the latter’s long-term future at Old Trafford called into question.

But speaking to the press ahead of United’s FA Cup fifth round tie with Nottingham Forest, Ten Hag launched a staunch defence of a player he got the best out of in the Eredivisie.

“Antony: I backed him for a long time. I know his abilities and he has great abilities. When he plays like I know from the past he is unstoppable, no defender can stop him because he’s one of the quickest players in the first 10 yards,” the Dutchman said.

“When he plays that game he will perform. I’m sure he will do for the future, I’m sure he is resilient, he is a character and he will fight back and I back him. He now has to wait for his chance and once he is there he has to pick up.”

Referencing the criticism of his decisions, Ten Hag replied: “First of all, I brought Kobbie Mainoo and everyone is questioning. Now we are six weeks and the same questioning are telling he has to go in the England squad. Same people.

“Garnacho – it’s the truth – ‘what is the manager doing? What is the staff doing?’ Similar. They need time.

“Omari came on and it’s not easy to come in a game because we didn’t play our best game, but he plays a reasonable game, I think he showed abilities [that] he can be a player for the future.

“They need some time but they also have to know in top football you don’t get time, you have to perform. When you come in you have to show it. But as a manager, I know they need the time, that is the paradox. I will give them the time, I believe in these players.”

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