Arsenal hero Paul Merson names perfect Erik ten Hag Man Utd replacement | Football

Paul Merson believes Manchester United are set to sack Erik ten Hag (Picture: Sky Sports)

Paul Merson has named the perfect replacement for Erik ten Hag and defended divisive Manchester United star Antony following his FA Cup semi-final antics.

Pressure is mounting on Ten Hag after United threw away a three-goal lead and were taken to penalties by Championship side Coventry City.

The Premier League giants eventually won to set up an intriguing FA Cup final against Manchester City, but their players were almost too embarrassed to celebrate at Wembley.

Antony was one of the few United players to react when Rasmus Hojlund converted the winning penalty, choosing to goad the Coventry players by celebrating in front of them and cupping his ears.

The Brazilian has been widely criticised for his actions – with several former United players saying it was poor conduct – but Merson says he deserves some slack.

Looking ahead to Manchester United’s next match, against bottom-placed Sheffield United on Wednesday night, Merson told Sportskeeda: ‘Man United will somehow win this and it will be another result that keeps them above the water, but something’s got to change at the club. 

‘Their performance against Coventry was as bad as it gets – they can have no excuses despite making it through to the FA Cup final on penalties. 

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‘My boys showed me the contrasting reactions from Harry Maguire and Antony after Rasmus Hojlund scored the winning penalty. One was classy and the other one wasn’t, but I don’t want to have a go at Antony. 

‘Maybe as a young kid in Brazil, he’d have grown up dreaming of playing a big cup final in Wembley, so his emotions probably got the better of him. 

‘Sheffield United are going to get relegated and literally gave up against Burnley, so I give them no chance at Old Trafford. 3-0 to Man United.’

Even lifting the FA Cup may not save Ten Hag his job at Old Trafford as Manchester United have struggled all season and sit just seventh in the Premier League with six games to play.

Merson believes Real Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti would be the ideal candidate to take over from Ten Hag but admits he cannot see the legendary Italian agreeing to join United.

Ancelotti is one of the most decorated managers in history, having won four Champions League trophies and league titles in Spain, England, Italy, France and Germany.

Antony and Andre Onana celebrating United's FA Cup semi-final win

Antony and Andre Onana celebrating United’s FA Cup semi-final win (Picture: Getty)

‘Erik ten Hag is under pressure and could be sacked at the end of the season,’ Merson added. ‘I know Manchester United need someone from the long haul, but they could do well with someone like Carlo Ancelotti. 

‘When I watched Real Madrid against Manchester City at the Etihad, I watched a handful of global superstars work their socks off to get a result away from home – that’s what Manchester United need. 

‘People will ask why Ancelotti would go to Manchester United, but he’s won it all in Spain multiple times! I can’t see it happening, but he’s the kind of manager they need.’ 

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