Erik ten Hag criticises Antony’s first half performance before stunning goal against Real Betis

Antony scored a memorable goal for Manchester United against Real Betis on Thursday night (Picture: Getty Images)

Erik ten Hag was not entirely full of praise for Antony’s performance in Manchester United’s 4-1 win over Real Betis on Thursday night, despite the winger scoring a memorable goal in the second half.

Marcus Rashford scored early for the home side at Old Trafford before Leicester City loanee Ayoze Perez levelled things up for the Spaniards in the first leg of the Europa League last 16 tie.

Antony curled in a stunning effort to put United back ahead, before Bruno Fernandes and Wout Weghorst made it a comfortable 4-1 win for Ten Hag’s side.

It was a beautiful effort from the former Ajax man as he pulled off his trademark trick of cutting in from the right and curling a left-footed effort into the far top corner.

Ten Hag does not think it was a perfect performance though, far from it, with the United manager not impressed by the 23-year-old’s first half display, although it was vastly improved after the break.

Antony has not been in the best form in the Premier League, and Ten Hag was asked if the Brazilian could only do it in the Europa League, but the Dutchman was not having that suggestion.

‘I don’t think he can only do it in Europa League because he scored in his first three games in Premier League,’ said the United boss.

What a strike from Antony! 🎯

Defenders know what he’s going to do, but they just can’t stop him ✨#UEL

— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) March 9, 2023

‘But in the first-half he could do better to make more actions, be more brave, go more behind, taking players on, more movement, using his speed.

‘The second half performance was much better, he made a great goal, an important goal.’

Ten Hag did have unreserved praise for another of his players, thoroughly impressed by the performance of Fernandes.

‘I think he was the best player on pitch,’ said the manager. ‘He showed his personality. He played a bit of a deeper role and i think he did it brilliantly.

‘I think he was the leader and making the game from the back, with a lot of good passes in between the lines and from there on we create a lot of chances.’

MORE : Bruno Fernandes delivers a captain’s performance to close wounds of Liverpool defeat

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