"I think..." - Ten Hag fiercely defends under fire Man Utd star with "good base" claim
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Erik ten Hag has defended Manchester United winger Antony after the Brazilian came under fire following his lacklustre performance against Arsenal.
Ten Hag signed Antony for an eye-watering £86million from former club Ajax last summer. But many fans have started to question whether he was worth the money, with the Brazil international yet to produce an assist this season.
He was taken off with 19 minutes to go in United's 3-2 defeat to Arsenal on Sunday, after struggling to make an impact down the right-hand side.
Former Tottenham and Aston Villa forward Darren Bent even referred to him as a 'YouTube footballer', when analysing his performance.
However, the Red Devils boss jumped to the player's defence in the lead-up to Wednesday night's Carabao Cup semi-final first leg against Nottingham Forest.
"With his talents..."
Speaking to the media, Ten Hag said: "When he's playing, the team is winning. That already gives a message of how well he is performing.
"He can do better, I see space for improvement. For instance, and I think also you know this, we want him to be more direct and be more involved.
"But, as I said, the team is performing better if he is on the pitch. That's a good thing, that's a good base to build further. I think he has already made an improvement.
"In his first three [Premier League] games, he scored three goals. Now he was scoring against Everton [in the FA Cup], he was scoring against Charlton [in the Carabao Cup], so also that fact, he has an impact.
"But I think with his capabilities, with his talents, he can do even more. But as I said, I think he has made a [good] contribution in the team."
Neville: I want to see more from Antony
Sky Sports pundit Gary Neville insisted that he wanted to see more from Antony after he was replaced by Fred on 71 minutes.
Speaking on The Gary Neville Podcast, the former United defender said: "I want to see a little bit more from Antony, to be honest with you. £90million signing.
"I think that to have to take him off is a disappointment because you'd like to think that like Martinelli and Saka, who are also young players, that Rashford and Antony could have been the ones of the other side of it that could have counter-attacked for United."
Neville added that Antony has 'some growth to go through', suggesting that the Brazilian is still adapting to life in the Premier League.
"It's just not quite happening for him at this moment in time. He's got a bit of work to do. He's got obviously some growth to go through and obviously he's newer to England than the other two are, but they're little complaints at this moment in time," he added.
Rio Ferdinand was also critical of the tricky winger, who has five goals to his name this season.
The former Red Devils centre-back stated that Antony 'just doesn't beat anyone', raising concerns over his pace.
Speaking on his FIVE podcast, Ferdinand said: "He just doesn't beat anyone and I'm sitting there thinking, 'Was that always the way?'
"I've seen clips of him when he was at Ajax and he was somebody who used to beat people.
"I saw Thomas Partey, who I wouldn't put down as a sprinter, absolutely burst past him, and I'm thinking, 'Woah, he (Antony) hasn't got much power in them legs!'
"He's a tricky winger, but with tricky wingers you want them to still be able to beat the defender."