Jadon Sancho and Antony need to get better at running in behind the opposition, Paul Scholes has claimed after Manchester United beat Omonia on Thursday evening.
Manchester United earned their second win of the Europa League group stage in their third match on Thursday. They had to work for it, though. Indeed, they found themselves 1-0 down at half time in Cyprus.
Substitute Marcus Rashford equalised in the early stages of the second half, before fellow incomer Anthony Martial put Manchester United in front. Rashford then added another goal before Omonia pulled one back late on.
The Red Devils are second in their group at the halfway stage. However, it is clear that Erik ten Hag is still overseeing a work in progress.
During his post-match interviews, Ten Hag admitted his players were “too static” in the first half, which is why he made changes at half time. He pointed to a need to get in behind the opposition defence as justification.
According to Manchester United legend Paul Scholes, the manager made the right assessment.
Indeed, Scholes has claimed that starting wingers Sancho (who went off for Rashford at half time) and Antony (who lasted until the 74th minute, when his side were 2-1 up) were guilty of not running in behind enough.
Responding to Ten Hag’s analysis, Scholes told BT Sport: “He was right about the wingers being static.
“Sancho never really runs in behind. He needs a fast left-back really or a centre-forward to link up with and he hasn’t really got that at the moment.
“Antony on the other side as well, he doesn’t run in behind. He seems to be a bit of a one-trick pony.
“He’s always cutting inside and either passing back to the full-back or having a shot. You’re thinking he needs to develop a little bit. It’s still early days for him, we know that.”
Sancho and Antony worth too much not to deliver for Man Utd
Manchester United spent heavily to bring in Sancho and Antony, last year and this summer respectively. Hence, they will be hoping for more end product from the pair to justify their big fees.
Patience might be required, since they are both only 22 years old. But each made an impact at their previous clubs – Borussia Dortmund for Sancho and Ajax for Antony – so have the potential to become more efficient for their current employers.
For Manchester United to reach the next level as a team, they will need players like Sancho and Antony to add more strings to their bow quickly. It is all about consistency and confidence.
They will be key players for the club in the years to come, so they need to get to grips with how they can be most effective for Ten Hag.
Antony should already have an idea, having thrived under the manager at Ajax. But to stand the best chance of increasing his output – and the same will go for Sancho – he might need to be more direct.