Erik ten Hag explains Antony decision after naming line-up to face Aston Villa

Erik ten Hag has named his line-up to face Aston Villa at Old Trafford on Sunday afternoon, with the Dutchman making two changes from the side that drew with Tottenham Hotspur earlier this week.

Tyrell Malacia comes in for Aaron Wan-Bissaka, with Diogo Dalot moving over to his favoured right flank. Antony is the other player to make way this week, with Marcel Sabitzer replacing him.

Sabitzer was an unused substitute in the game against Tottenham but has now been given a run-out in what is going to be a significant game in the chase for a top-four finish.

Speaking ahead of the game, Ten Hag explained some of the thinking behind his decision to leave Antony out of the side, explaining that it is down to fitness and tactical reasons.

“We have to divide the load of the players, that’s one, also from a tactical perspective, you have a thought and you have a plan, and that’s why the changes,” the manager is quoted as saying by the official Manchester United website.

“He [Antony] has played so much so we have to protect him as well. Also, from a tactical point of view, I think it’s a good choice to do it this way.”

SN’s verdict…
Antony is enjoying a decent run of form after struggling for large parts of his maiden campaign at United but he will be disappointed not to start this game.

It’s important to not think of the decision to leave him out as the winger being dropped, however, as he has done little to deserve that label.

He is finally growing into the role of flanking that right-hand side and he will keep improving – a full pre-season with the side this summer will do him the world of good.

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