Antony explains controversial celebration after Man Utd victory over Coventry

Antony cupped his hand to his ear in front of the Coventry fans after Sunday’s penalty shoot out

Sonia Twigg
Tuesday 23 April 2024 17:14 BST
Antony has been criticised for his celebration after Manchester United’s win on Sunday
Antony has been criticised for his celebration after Manchester United’s win on Sunday (Getty Images)

Antony has explained his controversial celebration after Manchester United clinched their place in the FA Cup final following a penalty shootout victory over Coventry City.

The Brazilian ran in front of the Coventry players with a hand cupped to his ear after they were denied the chance to become the first lower-tier side in England’s oldest football competition for the first time since 2008.

Antony’s actions have been widely criticised, and even manager Erik Ten Hag admitted he was in the wrong.

Taking to social media, Antony said on X, formerly known as Twitter: “Coventry proved why they reached the semi-final. We seeked this spot in the final for our fans and we achieved.

“The way our fans were treated by their player was not nice and I, in the heat of the moment, I’ve reacted to the provocations in a natural defence of my club!.”

Most of the other Manchester United players did not follow the Brazilian, and instead, Harry Maguire immediately walked to the opposing players and shook their hands.

Erik Ten Hag was asked the question ahead of his side’s match against Sheffield United on Wednesday, and said, reported by the BBC: “He was [provoked] and shout not react like this.

“You have not seen the provocation, only the reaction, but he should not do it.

“I’ve also seen Harry Maguire. We should acknowledge the performance of Coventry, coming back at 70 minutes when he dominated the game.

“The game must be closed, but the return from their side was very good.”

The lasting image of Antony’s celebration could be one of Ten Hag’s defining moments, as it is not yet certain whether Sir Jim Ratcliffe and the new ownership will keep the Dutchman at the helm.

Antony cost Manchester United £85m, and he was one of a number of signings from Ajax made by the manager, who wanted to restore the club to its former glory.

The Brazilian has netted just twice all season, a poor return for such a high transfer fee.

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