Antony slams 'malicious' Manchester United pundits as 'lives ruined' by criticism

Antony slams 'malicious' Manchester United pundits as 'lives ruined' by criticism

Manchester United winger Antony has hit back at the "malicious" criticism recently levelled at the club and player.

The Red Devils host Chelsea tonight sat five points outside the top four, following media reports over dressing room discontent with manager Erik ten Hag.

The Dutchman has fervently denied any accusation of disharmony at Old Trafford, banning a portion of the media relating to the story, having also faced criticism from high-profile United pundits such as Gary Neville and Roy Keane.

Brazilian winger Antony, 23, has taken aim at unnamed "former players" for their comments on his recent performances.

"I see criticism coming from former club players and other people in the media, who unreasonably express their opinions and influence thousands of fans, sometimes even when I do not play," he told The United Stand.

"But I've never seen them give constructive criticism, which will help me be a better professional. None of them have ever sent me a message to see how I am feeling, especially during this period of turbulence that I am going through. The 'digital court' is ruining lives; contexts are left aside, and the truth no longer matters.

"I am silently rebuilding myself, and I know that I will be able to be in my best physical and mental shape and overcome all these barriers and challenges that are in front of me because it has always been like this in my life; no one has ever given me anything, I have always fought hard for everything I achieved.

"I would like to know how these people who make these unfair and malicious criticisms fared in my place.

"I'm 23 years old, and my life has changed radically in the last four years. It wasn't easy to assimilate and understand all those changes. My daily battle is getting back in my best shape and performing at the highest level on the field, regaining my integrity, and having peace of mind."

Antony has been unable to nail down a place in the United team this season, and missed a number of weeks to contest allegations of assault made by three women in Brazil.

An £82million signing from Ajax 18 months ago, he has registered eight goals and three assists in 58 appearances.

When asked about Ten Hag's role in the Old Trafford dugout, he backed the manager to lead the club to success.

"He taught me a lot, and I owe him a lot for my professional evolution," said Antony.

"Of course, in football, we end up experiencing ups and downs, which is normal. But I like him, and I think he's an excellent professional, very capable. It can't be easy to manage such a huge and historic club as Manchester United."