Man Utd head coach Erik ten Hag has explained why he opted to take Antony off at half-time during his side’s 3-0 victory over FC Sheriff.
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Diogo Dalot and Marcus Rashford netted either side of half-time to place United in control of their latest Europa League group tie.
After spurning a couple of chances, Cristiano Ronaldo finally got on the scoresheet with around ten minutes remaining. This was the 701st club goal of his career.
The game should have been dead and buried by half-time but United did not make the most of their opportunities.
When the score was 0-0, Antony decided to showboat on the right flank as he spun with the ball at his feet with no one close to him.
This attack came to nothing though as the summer signing then passed the ball straight out for a goal kick.
Antony was subsequently criticised by Paul Scholes and he was brought off by Ten Hag before the second-half.
United go into their final group game next week needing to beat Real Sociedad by at least two goals to top Group E.
Ten Hag stated post-match that his players performed “okay” and he is “pleased with the clean sheet”.
“It was OK. Of course, you hope you score in the first half hour so it took a bit long but we deserved that goal.
“The second half we scored two more good goals from open play and I’m pleased with the clean sheet because we gave nothing away. It was a focused win.
“Our occupation of space in the box could still be done better, the second and third goals we did that well. We occupied positions and scored.”
When asked if Antony was subbed off due to his showboating, Ten Hag answered: “No. It was more or less planned if we were up. I wanted to see Marcus Rashford and Cristiano Ronaldo close together and the dynamic on the right side.
“Garnacho played well, he was good in his action, so that was good to see.
“Seeing Ronaldo get his goal was great. He created, the team created for him and we know he has the capability to finish. He needed a goal and now I’m confident there will be more goals.”
Rashford also spoke post-match and he thinks United’s players remained “calm” when they needed to create more chances.
“They set up to defend well and play on the counter. It took us a while and got the first goal from a set piece so we’re happy with that. Once we went 1-0 ahead, the space opened up and we could have got a few more,” Rashford said.
“Not getting the first goal quickly leads to a mix between frustration and calmness, you have to be calm to create chances and be clinical in taking them.
“Scoring before half-time was a big help, it allowed us to look for more goals and space and we found them. It was about getting the job done.”
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