Erik ten Hag has lavished praise on the much-maligned Antony for his recent improvement in form.
The 23-year-old is still looking for his first goal or assist of the 2023-24 season, but he put in a strong performance in the Champions League against Galatasaray last week before arguably having his most productive 90 minutes of the season in Wednesday’s 2-1 win over Chelsea.
Antony took aim at his detractors in a wide-ranging interview ahead of the match against Mauricio Pochettino’s Tottenham Hotspur, with the Brazilian attempting to navigate a difficult period in his life.
Police in both Brazil and England are still looking into allegations that the forward assaulted his ex-girlfriend on multiple occasions during their relationship.
Ten Hag stated that Antony is now “stepping up” and urged him to “build from this.”
“I believe it is an excellent viewpoint. I agree; I believe he is progressing along with the team. But, yes, this is the attitude he requires and has to offer the team,” Ten Hag told reporters on Wednesday night.
“And he was very bright; I believe he got very good ball positions.” He also makes excellent decisions. And, yes, he is stepping up, and he must build on this.”
“And I understand that sometimes you have poor performance, but you can still get a result.” That is the next step for us to take.
“When you stick together, have the right attitude, fight it, and even in bad performances, you have to collect points.”
“So that will be the next step.” But you can see how we play, how dominant we are in and out of possession. That’s how I want to play. So I was very pleased, and it was very enjoyable for me, how the team played today.”
Erik ten Hag and Antony Santos | Manchester Untied
Antony, Rasmus Hojlund, and Alejandro Garnacho were named as the front three against Chelsea, while Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial were named as substitutes.
Ten Hag must now decide whether to stick with the same attack that impressed on Wednesday or recall Rashford for Saturday’s Premier League match at Old Trafford against Bournemouth.