Erik ten Hag believes Manchester United are a better team when Antony is playing, but is still looking for more improvement from the Brazilian winger.
The 22-year-old joined the Red Devils from Ajax in a transfer that could exceed £85m back in September, and has scored five goals in 19 appearances across all competitions so far.
However, Antony hasn’t completed 90 minutes for United since October, while the forward has been criticised for a lack of consistency and perceived showboating.
Ten Hag – who worked with the Brazil international at Ajax – insists United are better when Antony is on the pitch, but certainly believes the player has plenty of improvement still to come.
“I think he is not losing games,” Ten Hag said. “When he is playing and the team is winning and that already gives a message of how well he is performing.
“He can do better, I see space for improvement and, for instance – and I think you notice – we want him to be more direct, more involved. But the team is performing better if he is on the pitch and that is a good thing, a good base to build further on.
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“I think he already makes improvement, he scored some goals, he scored in his first three games, now he scores against Everton and Charlton, so he has an impact.
“But I think with his capabilities, with his talents he can do even more. He has a good contribution in the team.”
Bruno Fernandes vented his frustration at Antony during a 1-1 draw with Crystal Palace last week after the winger misplaced a pass in the first half.
He’s not the first to show his displeasure at the forward, but Ten Hag has played down the incident as nothing more than a coming together between two passionate players.
“That can happen. They are both players who play also with the heart and when they bring that in the game, they are at their best,” he said.
“So it is always getting a balance, sometimes emotions slide up. In the second moment already they are good enough with each other. So that is not a problem and definitely, the players are not frustrated with him.”