Erik ten Hag brands Antony the 'missing link' of Manchester United's attack and insists his £85.5m signing can become 'even more of a threat' to other teams in the Premier League after he opened the scoring in a dream debut against Arsenal

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Erik ten Hag brands Antony the 'missing link' of Manchester United's attack and insists his £85.5m signing can become 'even more of a threat' to other teams in the Premier League after he opened the scoring in a dream debut against Arsenal

  • Erik ten Hag believes Antony is the 'missing link' for his Manchester United team
  • Antony opened the scoring on his debut in a 3-1 win over high-flying Arsenal
  • And Ten Hag believes that his side will improve the longer the spend together 
  • He also dismissed any fears of an Arsenal comeback despite sustained pressure

Erik ten Hag branded Antony the 'missing link' after Manchester United's new £85.5million man scored on his debut to ruin Arsenal's 100 per cent Premier League record on Sunday.

The 22-year-old Brazilian's opener and a double from Marcus Rashford secured United the win at Old Trafford, with Ten Hag afterwards urging his team to use this fourth successive victory to kick on.

'You can see all of his potential,' Ten Hag said of Antony, whose dancing around the ball drew appreciation from the United crowd at times and showed his confidence on his first appearance.

£85.5million Antony scored in the first half of his Manchester United debut against Arsenal

£85.5million Antony scored in the first half of his Manchester United debut against Arsenal

£85.5million Antony scored in the first half of his Manchester United debut against Arsenal

'He will be a threat in the Premier League. We were missing a player on the right wing. [Jadon] Sancho and [Marcus] Rashford can play there but they prefer the left so now we have the missing link who can play well on the right. 

'We needed that on the right wing with his pace and dribbles and expression. It (the Premier League) is going be a challenge for him but we saw his potential. We have to keep pushing. I set high standards every day. Everyone has to bring it every day to Carrington.'

After losing 4-0 to Brentford, Ten Hag cancelled the team's day off and forced his under-performing players to run 8.5 miles. He took part in that session himself and said United's upturn in form is partly down to the discipline he is trying to implement.

'It's a part of it,' said Ten Hag, who also reserved special praise for Christian Eriksen in his post-match press conference. 'From day one we set high standards. When you show discipline, you create a winning culture.

The Brazilian played under Erik ten Hag at Ajax and his manager believes he is the 'missing link'

The Brazilian played under Erik ten Hag at Ajax and his manager believes he is the 'missing link'

Ten Hag was understandably full of praise after his side's performance

'This is what we have to work for. I'm not now thinking "we are there" but we are on our way. We are heading in a good direction. We are still far away. We have to go together every day and bring high standards to Carrington and know that good is not good enough – we have to be better. The players know you have to get better if you want to win trophies.'

Arsenal thought they had taken the lead in this game through Gabriel Martinelli, but it was disallowed for a foul in the build-up by Martin Odegaard on Eriksen. VAR Lee Mason sent referee Paul Tierney to his monitor, where he gave United a free-kick.

Manager Mikel Arteta afterwards claimed Tierney admitted to him it was a 'soft' foul. 'There's nothing we can do now,' added Arteta, whose side remain top of the Premier League table. 'It's too late. Just be consistent.

'We conceded the first goal. After that, it was all us. Chance after chance. Dominating the game. Imposing ourselves in how we want to play. I said at half time to the boys, "The game is there for the taking. If we play with even more courage, we are going to win this game".

Marcus Rashford was also on song as he bagged a pivotal brace in the Red Devils' victory

Marcus Rashford was also on song as he bagged a pivotal brace in the Red Devils' victory

'We went to 1-1. We suffered a goal (to go 2-1 down). It's a big lesson. If you want to win here you have to do everything so right.'

Arteta made a triple substitution when Arsenal were trailing 2-1 in the 74th minute, replacing Oleksandr Zinchenko, Sambi Lokonga and Odegaard with three attackers in Fabio Vieira, Eddie Nketiah and Emile Smith Rowe. The Arsenal manager was criticised for the naivety of those changes, with Sky Sports commentator Gary Neville among those who felt the introduction of such an attacking trio was a gamble.

Arsenal's team shape was in ruins after that and United capitalised to score their third goal. Bruno Fernandes played the ball in behind their back line for Eriksen, who then teed up the lively Rashford to score.

'I'm not here to evaluate United,' Arteta said. 'What I saw was a different Arsenal team that came here and played the way we want to play against these world class players and unfortunately we didn't get the result we deserved. To be consistent with the top teams and challenging at the top of this league you have to come here and play the way you play but win, and that's a very different story.'

Antony's goal came just 35 minutes into his career at United with a well-struck finish

Antony's goal came just 35 minutes into his career at United with a well-struck finish

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