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'He has to keep doing it' - Fred defends Man Utd teammate Anthony following showboating criticism

21:00 WAT 28/10/2022
Antony Manchester United 2022-23
Fred was quick to defend his Manchester United and Brazil teammate Antony who came under fire for showboating against Sheriff in the Europa League.
  • Winger did trademark spin in first half
  • Was substituted at half-time
  • Fred insists he must keep entertaining

WHAT HAPPENED? Despite a comfortable 3-0 win - which included a goal for Cristiano Ronaldo on his return - Antony was the subject of much discussion on a productive evening at Old Trafford. Significant criticism was aimed at the 22-year-old for a rather pointless pair of 360-degree spins under no pressure from opposing defenders - with Paul Scholes even referring to him as a "clown" - and Erik ten Hag faced questions about his showboating after the match. Fred was then quizzed about the incident in an interview with ESPN and he was defiant in his support of his friend and teammate.

WHAT HE SAID: “I think it starts with us being Brazilians," the United midfielder said. "Brazilians have quality in their blood. It’s always been that way since Pelé, to have quality, to dribble, to score, to dance, to smile. So I think people have to understand this aspect that we have. So it wasn’t offensive to anyone what he did. Of course, if it’s offensive, we’ll come to him in the dressing room and talk. But it was not offensive to anyone. It’s his game. I think he has to keep doing it."

Asked how he felt about pundits like Scholes criticising Antony for the trick, Fred added: "It's very annoying that they want to say that."

THE BIGGER PICTURE: The main aspect that frustrated many supporters, pundits and onlookers was the lack of a decent end product to follow Antony's showboating; he harmlessly passed the ball straight out for a goal kick after pulling off the spin.

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WHAT NEXT FOR ANTONY? Despite being substituted soon after, Ten Hag revealed that he was always planning to take off his big-money signing. He will likely retain his place in the starting XI for the visit of West Ham on Sunday afternoon.