Many United players have struggled to match their usual standards this season as the team have barely put together a convincing 90-minute display.
Chief among those struggling names has been Antony, an Erik ten Hag favourite whose form was so underwhelming he lost his undisputed starter position.
Off-the-field incidents haven’t helped him either, with the winger forced to take a leave of absence in the middle of the season to deal with it.
However, Football Insider reports that Ten Hag is not willing to step back from his unequivocal backing of the player at any cost.
The report states that Antony is set to be rewarded with a major first-team role in the gruelling winter months despite not being a helpful contributor to the team’s efforts this season.
The murmurs around Antony’s future being potentially away from United were also quickly quashed recently, which confirms how highly rated he is by the management.
This backing has become a source of frustration for fans at times, with the player being average on the pitch and still getting starts in the team.
In that vein, this report will hardly get fans excited, who are already worried that Ten Hag shows favouritism towards some players in particular.
However, the manager’s stance in this particular case is understandable to an extent, since the fixture list is relentless till March.
He will need every player to be available, regardless of form or ability, because injury risk will peak with the games coming thick and fast.
In such a scenario, he can’t afford to lose a dependable player like Antony who rarely gets injured and regardless of form, can always be backed to put in a hard shift.
Still, fans are right to demand more from an attacker and the Brazilian will need to start producing the goods sooner rather than later.
Otherwise, the noise around him will increase and it will also increase the pressure on Ten Hag, who is not giving up on his pet project and last year’s marquee signing.