Erik Ten Hag offers excuse for Antony’s controversial celebration against Coventry

Antony’s celebration did not fit the occasion (Getty Images)
Antony’s celebration did not fit the occasion (Getty Images)

Erik Ten Hag admitted Antony was in the wrong when he ran in front of the Coventry City fans with a hand cupped to his ear after they were knocked out of the FA Cup semi-finals on Sunday.

The Brazilian drew criticism for his celebration following the penalty shoot out. While earlier in the match Manchester United conceded three goals against Coventry, who only had one win in their last four matches in the second tier of English football.

The majority of Manchester United’s players did not follow suit, and instead some, like Harry Maguire, immediately headed across to members of the opposing team and shook hands.

Erik Ten Hag was asked the question ahead of his side’s match against Sheffield United on Wednesday, and said, reported by the BBC: “He was [provoked] and shout not react like this.

“You have not seen the provocation, only the reaction, but he should not do it.

“I’ve also seen Harry Maguire. We should acknowledge the performance of Coventry, coming back at 70 minutes when he dominated the game.

“The game must be closed, but the return from their side was very good.”

The lasting image of Antony’s celebration could be one of Ten Hag’s defining moments, as it is not yet certain whether Sir Jim Ratcliffe and the new ownership will keep the Dutchman at the helm.

Antony cost Manchester United £85m, and he was one of a number of signings from Ajax made by the manager, who wanted to restore the club to its former glory.

The Brazilian has netted just twice all season, a poor return for such a high transfer fee.

Manchester United will take on local rivals Manchester City in the FA Cup final on May 25, 2024 at Wembley, with Pep Guardiola’s side still in the hunt for a league and cup double after being knocked out of the Champions League by Real Madrid at the quarter-finals stage.