Manchester United’s £85million signing Antony reportedly ignored orders from Erik ten Hag to track back and help the defence during Sunday’s 6-3 drubbing by Manchester City.
While the Brazilian winger did score at the Etihad Stadium on what was a humiliating afternoon for United, he apparently didn’t do enough defensively. The Sun report that Ten Hag expressly told Antony he would have to help out Diogo Dalot when United came under pressure from City.
That message was hammered home in training sessions ahead of the derby and again before kick-off. But Antony left both his manager and Dalot infuriated after he seemingly forgot this aspect of his gameplan.
Right-back Dalot was seen remonstrating with Antony, who moved to United from Ten Hag’s former club Ajax in the summer, as he was repeatedly exposed by Jack Grealish and Bernardo Silva. Dalot was booked in only the second minute for a foul on Grealish and was left walking a disciplinary tightrope as City attacked in waves.
Left-back Tyrell Malacia was also booked in the first-half as City used the flanks to excellent effect. Jadon Sancho, on his side, wasn’t much better than Antony when it came to tracking back.
Both Phil Foden and Erling Haaland scored hat-tricks, with Antony reducing the arrears to 4-1 on 56 minutes before two late Anthony Martial goals made the scoreline slightly more respectable.
Former United star Paul Scholes made reference to the lack of work rate by Antony and Sancho in an Instagram post. Accompanied by a picture of his former United team-mates Ryan Giggs and David Beckham, Scholes wrote: ‘Anyone remember when wingers used to help their full-backs?’
Given Antony’s experience of Ten Hag’s playing style from Ajax, his unwillingness to help out the defence was all the more surprising. United have the opportunity to return to winning ways on Thursday night when they play Omonia Nicosia in Cyprus in their latest UEFA Europa League fixture. They are back in Premier League action with a visit to Everton on Sunday night.