Ten Hag says Antony improved SIX aspects of his game in Betis win
‘Be more brave!’: Erik ten Hag says Antony improved SIX aspects of his game after half-time in Man Utd’s comeback win against Real Betis… but winger STILL struggles with consistency after £85m move
- Antony got on the scoresheet after half-time as his performance improved
- But Erik ten Hag was full of suggested improvements for the Brazilian winger
- Manger has previously said that his third-highest record signing is ‘still growing’
Antony may have got his name on the scoresheet for Manchester United in their Europa League first-leg match against Real Betis, but his manager Erik ten Hag still thinks there’s room for improvement in the Brazilian player’s game.
The Red Devils were delighted by the response they served up in the European competition after Sunday’s 7-0 humiliation at Anfield against long-term rivals Liverpool.
The 23-year-old winger had his part to play in United’s comeback victory against Betis, playing a curling shot straight past former Manchester City goalkeeper Claudio Bravo to nestle the ball in the far corner in the 52nd minute.
But despite a quality showing across the board, Ten Hag was determined not to let Antony’s performance pass without assessment.
Speaking after the match, the Dutch manager said that among other aspects of his game, Antony, who played under Ten Hag at Ajax before his £85m summer transfer, has to be ‘more brave’ to produce consistent results for his club.
Antony scored against Real Betis in an emphatic victory but still struggles for consistency
Erik ten Hag’s was far happier with his player’s second half performance than his first
The United manager offered a laundry list of improvements that his player could have made in the first half, after an uneven game in the opening 45 minutes.
Ten Hag said: ‘I don’t think he can only do it [score] in the Europa League games, because he scored in his first three games in the Premier League.
‘But in the first half, he could do better to make more actions, be more brave, go more behind, taking players on, but especially more movement, using his speed.’
After half-time, Ten Hag believed that Antony’s second half was much closer to the mark.
‘I think the second half performance was much better, he made a great goal, and important goal,’ the manager added.
Antony has scored six times across all competitions since his move to Manchester from Amsterdam, with a goal in the FA Cup and two in the Europa League adding to his tally of Premier League goals against Arsenal, Manchester City, and Everton.
But those three league goals came at the very start of his season at United, and the winger has failed to find the back of net in the competition since early October.
Antony became the Eredivisie’s highest transfer fee of all time when he moved in September to join his former manager in the Premier League.
Despite this, it not the first time that Ten Hag implied that there is a need for an improved showing from the player.
Antony celebrated wildly following his goal with team-mate Marcus Rashford, who also rediscovered his shooting for to take United ahead in the first six minutes
In January, following United’s 3-0 victory over Reading in the FA Cup, Ten Hag told ITV that Antony was ‘still growing’ as a player.
‘I think he’s growing,’ Ten Hag commented at the time. ‘We want him to be also more dynamic, more variable and more direct.
‘There is still more to come and I think he’s capable of it, I think it’s big potential in him and he has to develop it every day.’
United’s emphatic win at Old Trafford has gone some way to restore confidence in Ten Hag’s vision for his team, after he named a starting XI unchanged from the one that faced Liverpool on Sunday.
A number of players were able to redeem themselves after the weekend’s poor performance, none more than Bruno Fernandes, who silenced critics with a match his manager called ‘brilliant’.
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