Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag stated that he is encouraged by Antony’s recent progress at Old Trafford after the Brazilian winger scored against Everton on Sunday evening. The Red Devils fell behind early on when Alex Iwobi hit the top corner from range, but Antony equalized with a beautiful finish just 10 minutes later.
United went on to win an important game before halftime, with Cristiano Ronaldo scoring to give the visitors all three points at Goodison Park. Erik ten Hag, though, singled out Antony for special praise after the game, saying that he has been impressed by the 22-year-growth old’s in recent weeks and backed him to keep developing as he continues to find his feet in the Premier League.
“We have to expect more from him,” said United’s manager. “He requires challenges, which is why he moved to the Premier League; he gets them here.” He wants to play against the top players, with the highest stress levels, and then he will step up.
“That’s what you see: in the first few weeks, he scored goals and did wonderful things, but I also saw a lot of opportunity for progress in his game, and I was thrilled with the goal he made now because it came out of a situation where he was getting in behind.” He needs to do this more often, and he needs to make better use of his space.
“He has a good dribble, but he needs to vary it more.” He wasn’t always that terrific defending in the first game, but tonight he was incredibly good and disciplined. He had superb posture and anticipation, therefore he had a significant impact on the performance of this team.
“He can [go on the outside more], it’s preferred, and he had to go both ways; you have to work on that point, which we did with him in Amsterdam; working on that, and he can also cross with his right foot.” He is a young player that we must develop, but he must also develop himself.”
Antony has started every Premier League game for Manchester United since signing from Ajax on the final day of the summer transfer window, contributing three goals in the process. Prior to the international break, he made his debut for the Red Devils against Arsenal, and he added a consolation in the crushing defeat against Manchester City before making his most recent contribution against Everton on Sunday.
However, it remains to be seen whether Antony can live up to his £85 million price tag by continuing his prolific form in front of goal in the coming weeks and months. Ten Hag will be keen for him to keep firing on all cylinders for as long as possible in order to increase United’s chances of qualifying for the Champions League this season, despite the fact that they are outsiders in the fight for a top-four finish.