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Other SportsTen Hag says 'off-field issues' to blame for Antony's lack of form

Ten Hag says ‘off-field issues’ to blame for Antony’s lack of form

Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag believes off-field issues are partly responsible for Antony’s lack of form in recent months, though he acknowledges the winger needs to improve.

Last September, Antony was dropped from Brazil’s squad after his former girlfriend Gabriela Cavallin accused him of domestic abuse.

Two further women then came forward with allegations of assault against the winger, who was given a leave of absence by United as the club pledged to take the claims seriously.

Greater Manchester Police opened an investigation into the matter, but as Antony was not arrested, charged or detained, United made him available for selection again later that month.

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The winger – who worked with Ten Hag at Ajax before following him to Old Trafford in August 2022 – has struggled for form since arriving in England, failing to register a goal or an assist in 21 appearances this season.

He could face Tottenham on Sunday after missing Monday’s FA Cup win over Wigan Athletic with a thigh injury, and Ten Hag knows he needs to produce more after costing the club a reported £86million.

“I think it’s very simple. His off-field issues stopped him playing,” Ten Hag said of Antony. “His first year was okay, the pre-season was very okay, the first four games [of 2023-24] were very good.

“I’ve seen the game against Spurs [on matchday two] back and he played a very good game, but from the moment he was out and then came back, he didn’t deliver the performances you expect from him. He can do so much better.

“You mention Ajax, I look back there at his effectiveness, his end product was higher and also in the Champions League, it was very high.

“He’s capable of doing it; key actions, key passes, the crosses, the finishing, it’s very high and he should return to that level, but the Premier League is more difficult.

“He’s capable of doing that. They [his off-field issues] have had an impact on him definitely, so he has to deal with that, we will give him all the support, but he has to do better.”

Harry Carr
Harry Carr
Harry is a freelance sports journalist with experience of working for the Racing Post, Stats Perform, Opta Analyst and more, covering major events across all sports but holding a particular love for the beautiful game.
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