Erik ten Hag asks Antony for more after his starring role in Man Utd’s win at Forest

Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag wants even more from Antony after he responded to his criticisms in the 2-0 win over Nottingham Forest.

The former Ajax winger has come under scrutiny for his output since his £82m summer transfer from the Dutch club and Ten Hag have been forced to defend him in the build-up to the clash at the City Ground.

And he immediately rewarded that confidence with an impressive performance, scoring one and setting up the other as United tightened their grip on the top four.

But Ten Hag is not satisfied and wants more consistency from the Brazilian international.

“I defended him. He knows, I know too, when you’re a striker, you need the end product,” said Ten Hag as United moved six points clear of fifth-placed Tottenham.

“But he already had quite a lot of final product, he’s scored in all competitions now, eight goals, first year at United not bad and still games to go.

“But he has to. I can’t say in every game, but a lot if you want to be a first class player and especially in all competitions.

“There are a lot of quality defenders in the Premier League and you have to perform at a really high level.

“It’s a lot about scanning, making the right decision. There is only a split moment where you have to make that decision.

“He has to come forward. Today was an example where, with both goals, he made the right decision.”

Antony opened the scoring in the 32nd minute when he showed a desire to be first to the rebound after Anthony Martial’s shot was saved. He then masterfully set up Diogo Dalot’s goal with an incisive through ball.

Ten Hag added: “It’s so important in top-level football, the timing, the right moment to deliver the pass is huge, it has every impact, it makes the difference between a goal and no goal.

“The goal he scored was in the right place, at the right time to get the rebound. The second goal was a great team goal, for how we built it, for how Antony did it to carry the pass and at the right moment. Diogo’s movement was fantastic. It was good to see.

Nottingham Forest v Manchester United – Premier League – City Ground

Diogo Dalot scored the second goal to seal victory for United (Nick Potts/PA)

Forest failed to have a shot on goal and are now winless in 10 games, with Steve Cooper’s job remaining under serious threat after owner Evangelos Marinakis’ warning that results and performances “need to improve immediately”.

They were competitive in the first half hour and could easily have been awarded a penalty when a corner kick appeared to hit Harry Maguire’s outstretched arm.

But referee Simon Hooper did not give it and VAR official Andy Madeley chose not to overrule.

Cooper insisted that wasn’t the reason his team lost, but expects a nonsensical apology from PGMOL.

Nottingham Forest v Manchester United – Premier League – City Ground

Nottingham Forest manager Steve Cooper is winless in 10 games (Nick Potts/PA)

“I’m not going to say it’s the absolute reason we lost the match, but I think it’s a definite penalty from Maguire and maybe a second yellow card and it could be a game changer,” he said.

“I repeat, that’s not why we lost, and I won’t hide behind a penalty decision, but I think it was a really, really, really bad mistake. One of the referee on the pitch, but benefit of the doubt from that angle and bodies around the high handball. But why the VAR doesn’t give it, they apologized last week and will have to apologize again tomorrow, which means absolutely nothing.

“But it’s happening too many times for me. I’ll say this for the third time, I don’t think it’s your title that’s why we lost the game, but I don’t think these mistakes should happen.

“I try not to be the manager who talks about bad decisions, but Harry Maguire’s I find it hard to understand, especially the VAR.

“We are having a difficult time with the refereeing department and unfortunately we have been on the wrong side, it is our turn this week.”

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