Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag says he will “correct” Antony if he thinks the Brazilian is pulling tricks just for himself.
The winger took a spin on the ball in the first half of the 3-0 win over FC Sheriff before immediately misplacing his pass.
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Former United midfielder Paul Scholes branded the passing of the game “ridiculous” as cameras caught Ten Hag shaking his head on the bench. Antony was substituted at half-time, although Ten Hag suggested the substitution was pre-planned.
“I have no problem with that [the trick] as long as he’s functional,” Ten Hag said. “I demand more from him — more running behind, more in the box and more playing in the pocket. When there’s a trick like that, it’s nice while it’s functional. If you’re not losing the ball, then that’s fine, but if it’s a trick for the sake of a trick, then I’ll correct it.”
The result against Sheriff confirmed United’s place in the knockout round of the Europa League. Diogo Dalot, Marcus Rashford and Cristiano Ronaldo scored and Ten Hag said afterwards that Ronaldo, who returned to the team after suspension, was rewarded for his persistence after missing a number of other chances.
“He continued and the team continued to put him in the right position,” Ten Hag said. “He kept going to put himself in the right position. He didn’t quit and I think that’s what he’s done his whole career and he got his reward for that at the end.”
As well as bringing back Ronaldo, Ten Hag also handed 18-year-old Alejandro Garnach his first senior start. The striker impressed on the left side of the front three and almost ended his night with a goal.
“I think it was a good performance for him,” Ten Hag said. “He did what I expected. First, he deserved the chance. In the last weeks he had a difficult start because I wasn’t happy with him, but last week I was happy with him.
“He had a better attitude, more resilience, more determination and what you see, he has talent.
“These are young kids. They have to grow up and know what the demands of top football are. It’s not just about a trick or scoring one goal, we have to win football games. Every day you have to meet the highest standards and we have to learn it, but not only him, all the players, especially the young ones.”