Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag has promised to “correct” Antony if he wastefully showboats in the future.
The Brazilian exhibited his signature ‘Anturny’ trick in the 38th minute of United’s 3-0 Europa League win over FC Sheriff yet misplaced his pass with the game goalless.
Despite the crowd’s approval, United defender Diogo Dalot appeared to advise Antony to show more intensity and the £85.51million winger was substituted at half-time, although his removal was pre-planned.
United great Paul Scholes, on punditry duty, dubbed Antony a “clown” for the manoeuvre and Ten Hag said such tricks were permissible if there was an end product.
“I don’t have a problem with that as long as it’s functional,” Ten Hag stressed. “Also from him, I demand more: more runs in behind, more often in the box, more follows in and more tempo dribbles especially and more playing in the pocket.
“We demand more dominance from this game and when there is a trick like that it is nice as long as it’s functional and not losing the ball, if you’re attracting players, it’s okay. But if it’s a trick because of a trick then I will correct him.
“More or less (the substitutions were pre-planned), when we are up, that was planned. [Lisandro] Martinez had been booked [against Real Sociedad] and a second he would be out for the third game, the next game.
“So we know what we have to do in Sociedad, we have to win there with a two-goal difference.”
United have qualified for the Europa League knockout stage and must beat Real Sociedad by two goals in their final group game to win Group E.
If United finish second then they will be drawn against a team demoted from the Champions League for a two-legged knockout tie in February.
“I think it was a good win,” Ten Hag added. “Of course, you always want more, I think we created more chances to score more goals. We created chances and that’s good and finally, we score also three goals.
“And what’s good is we played in the opponent’s half and stayed there. So we attacked well, organised, we don’t concede counters, we were good in defensive transition, we didn’t come out, they maybe had one shot in the game. For the rest, we only played in their half.
“We created chances, scored from a set-play, I’m happy with that, and the second and third goals were really well-played goals.”