Erik ten Hag believes Antony can become Manchester United’s version of Arjen Robben after the Brazilian netted one goal and provided an assist for the other in a 2-0 win at Nottingham Forest.
Antony’s performances have come under intense scrutiny since his £85m move from Ajax last summer, but he has shown how effective he can be at the City Ground to keep the game going for United’s top-four bid. He hit the first set before the break and set up the second for Diogo Dalot after the break.
One criticism about Antony is that he relies too much on his left foot. But Ten Hag pointed out that his compatriot Robben, who shone for ten years at Bayern, had turned a similar weakness into a strength.
“I saw Arjen Robben a lot,” said Ten Hag. “They say he only has one trick, one trick of which was so brilliant no one can stop him. Of course, we have to point out that if you can do it both ways, you have more variations and you are harder to stop.
“He knows that as a striker you need an end product, but he has already scored eight goals in all competitions this season. There is only a brief moment when you have to make that decision . He needs to step up. Today was an example where he made the right decision with both goals.
Ten Hag also praised Christian Eriksen, who was drafted in as a late replacement for Marcel Sabitzer, who retired just before kick-off.
It was the Dane’s first start since January after recovering from an ankle injury, but he played as if he had never been out.
Ten Hag added, “He’s a natural. Everything is so sweet with him. He has so much skill and understanding of the game. He wouldn’t have started if Marcel hadn’t been knocked out, but bringing in Christian is not a disadvantage for your team and he has proven that.”