It was a personal matter’ – Antony thanks Manchester United for helping him through ‘really difficult moment’

January 8, 2023

Man Utd forward Antony scored his fourth goal for the club during the win against Everton in the FA Cup..

Antony insisted he’s his own harshest critic after netting his first Manchester United goal in nine games during the FA Cup win against Everton at Old Trafford.

The Brazilian winger scored after three minutes to set United on their way to a 3-1 success and Antonyadmitted the goal came at a good time, having suffered a personal setback in midweek and at a moment when his bright start to life at the club was starting to wear off.

The £85.5million signing from Ajax scored in his first three Premier League appearances but he’s struggled to match that since. Against Everton, his movement was sharp to get on the end of Marcus Rashford’s low cross on Friday night.

Erik ten Hag pushed hard to be reunited with his former player this summer and the fee United ended up paying has added to the expectations in his first season in English football, but he has set himself goals on and off the pitch since moving to the Premier League and is focusing on getting his mindset right to thrive.

“I’ve set goals for me not only on the pitch, it also involves resting, eating well, everything. It’s about being 100 per cent on and off the pitch, especially on the mental side as it’s what controls the rest,” said Antony.

“I really demand a lot from myself regardless of what people talk about me. I listen only to the helpful feedback, if not even Jesus Christ could please everyone, who am I to try to do so?”

Antony missed the win against Bournemouth in midweek due to illness but also revealed that he’d been affected by a personal issue in recent days.

He was grateful for the support of the club and Ten Hag as he dealt with that and was pleased to score for them, as well as edging him closer to his own personal targets this season.

“First of all, it’s a feeling of joy. I’m happy to score again, especially at home. I’ve set some goals for me this season and it’s good to score as soon as I’ve started to think of personal goals,” he said.

“But, of course, the most important is United’s qualification to the next stage. I also feel relieved as in the last days I had a shock, but I prefer not to comment on what happened..

It was a personal matter, really hard, but I’m very grateful to God for putting that behind me now, grateful to the club, to the players, to the manager, everyone stayed by my side. It’s in the past now, I’m happy to score and I hope to keep going like this because this is a year of a lot of achievements and wins.

“This is my mind frame now, I’m 100 per cent focused on honouring the fans and the club. We all know the size of this club and we want to put United back to where it deserves.”

When asked if what happened to him was a distraction and whether the goal came at the perfect time for him, Antony replied: “It does yes. It was a really, really difficult moment for me.

“But God has been always on my side and I’m grateful also to my family. I dedicate this goal to them, it’s in moments like these that you know who really loves you. Now it’s about focusing on what’s next and we have a quarter-final to play.”

Antony had just two seasons with Ajax in the Netherlands before following Ten Hag to Old Trafford this summer, so the 22-year-old is not only adapting to a new league, but remains relatively raw in terms of experience in European football.

He is still settling into the demands of the Premier League, but was determined to be reunited with Ten Hag and praised the Dutchman for his support and his understanding of his background.

“The Premier League is absolutely different for any other league. Intensity, calendar, a lot of games…it’s a huge demand,” he said.