Man United fans slam pundits & ex-players for criticising Antony's 360 degree spin display against Sheriff
Several football pundits and former Manchester United legends have criticised Brazilian winger Antony for 'showboating' in the first half of the Red Devils' 3-0 win against FC Sheriff in their Europa League clash on Thursday.
It was a night that saw legendary striker Cristiano Ronaldo make a solid return to Manchester United's squad by scoring the third goal for the Red Devils in their Europa League 3-0 win against FC Sheriff at Old Trafford. However, apart from the Portuguese talisman scoring his 701st club career goal, what also hit the headlines was Brazilian winger Antony's antics with the ball.
The 22-year-old former Ajax star is known for his iconic ball spin, and the player chose to display his skill in the first half of the clash. However, the 'AnTURNy' did not prove helpful as he passed the ball out of play and awarded the visiting team a goal kick.
Antony was substituted at half-time, but United boss Erik ten Hag insisted the decision was pre-planned and was not due to the wasteful attack. He has, however, stated he would coach needless tricks out of the Brazilian as he looks for the summer arrival to use his skill effectively.
"I don't have a problem with tricks as long as it's functional," Ten Hag said.
"I demand more from him – more runs behind, more often in the box and more playing in the pocket. When there is a trick like that, it's nice as long as it's functional. If you're not losing the ball, then it's OK – but if it's a trick because of a trick, then I will correct him," the United boss added.
Diogo Dalot, Marcus Rashford and Cristiano Ronaldo scored as United eased to a 3-0 win against Sheriff, though the Red Devils will need to beat Real Sociedad in their final fixture to top the group. Following this clash, football pundits and former club legends slammed Antony's choices on the night.
On Ten Hag's confirmation of Antony's substitution being planned, former United legend Paul Scholes said: "I think it would have had a little bit of something to do with it [Antony's skill]. I think you saw his [Ten Hag] reaction on the bench, I think it frustrated him."
"I just don't know what it achieves. This crowd and me, I love a bit of showboating, I love a bit of entertainment but… does that do anything for anybody? Does it do anything for himself? I'd have to ask him. I don't know what it achieves Owen. If you're three or four nil up yeah then, you might do. But even if you're three or four nil up, what does that do for you?" Scholes told BT Sport.
Meanwhile, Owen Hargreaves too slammed the Brazilian star stating, "We all want to see skill, we all love that, but the point is you need to have skill with function. You need to be moving forward. If he does that in and around somebody I'll be jumping out my seat, but the point is to do it like that with no effect, I'm not sure what he was trying to achieve."
Scholes added, "I'm not even sure it's skill is it? We could all do that couldn't we? "I think he needs a better one – a more entertaining one. Brazil don't wanna see that do they? Ajax in Holland, do they want to see that? I like to see skill and entertainment but I don't think that's skill or entertainment, that's just.. being a clown innit?"
Robbie Savage claimed Antony’s first-half showboating moment against Sheriff was “embarrassing”. “He’s [Antony] done that then puts the ball out of play. It’s quite embarrassing actually. Doing that with nobody near him and then he puts the ball out of play. If I was the manager I would not be happy. You’re trying to win the game, move the ball quickly, nobody near him and he puts the ball out of play. Embarrassing. What was the point? If I was the manager and he did that again, I would drag him off," Savage added.
Meanwhile, several fans took to Twitter to react to slam pundits and former legends criticising Antony for displaying his iconic spin on the field during the Europa League clash against Sheriff. Here's a look at some of the reactions: