Ex-Man Utd star slams Antony for goading Coventry players after win | Football

Manchester United’s Antony cupped his ear towards Coventry’s players after the win (Picture: Getty)

Lee Sharpe says Manchester United ‘got away with one’ in their dramatic FA Cup semi-final victory and believes a ‘naive’ Antony was ‘out of order’ for goading Coventry’s despondent players after the Wembley thriller.

United appeared to be cruising towards next month’s showpiece as goals from Scott McTominay, Harry Maguire and Bruno Fernandes put Erik ten Hag’s side firmly in the driving seat.

But a spirited late flurry from Coventry forced extra-time and Victor Torp had a last-gasp strike disallowed for offside by VAR before United prevailed via a nerve-shredding penalty shootout.

The result sets up what promises to be an intriguing final between United and City, the competition’s reigning champions, on May 25.

However, the Red Devils came in for heavy criticism for the manner in which they let a three-goal lead crumble against Championship opposition and a defiant Ten Hag was even forced to defend his position as manager after the game.

Sharpe – a two-time FA Cup winner with United – was less than impressed by the display and believes Ten Hag’s substitutions were partly to blame for the way in which his side fell apart in such spectacular fashion.

Asked who is responsible for the club current problems, the ex-United winger told talkSPORT: ‘You’ve got to look at the Glazers from the top that set the standard of the club, I think you’ve got to look at the injury list that they’ve had this season.

Lee Sharpe looks on

Ex-United star Sharpe was less than impressed with Antony’s behaviour (Picture: Getty)

‘But then you look at the game yesterday and they’re cruising with 20 minutes to go and then the manager decides to make a couple of changes. I know he’s got a few tired legs out there but maybe he’s changed it 10 minutes to early.

‘It changes the mentality of the players, they drop down a gear and think it is a testimonial game in the last 20 minutes, it is just a procedure, and they slip up.

‘They opened the gates for Coventry, Coventry get a bit of momentum, and all of a sudden they’re right under the cosh and they get away with one in the end.’

The result booked United a place in the final versus the holders City (Picture: Getty)

Antony drew the ire on many spectators after replays showed the Brazilian turning and cupping his ears towards Coventry’s players in the immediate aftermath of United’s shootout win.

According to Sharpe, Antony’s reaction was ‘out of order’, especially as the United forward had struggled to make an impact after being introduced in the 66th minute.

‘I think Antony is maybe a little bit too young and a little bit too naive as to how to behave after dodging a bullet,’ Sharpe said.

‘It’s not like he set the world alight when he did come on.

‘I think Harry Maguire was humble enough to understand what had gone on and that they had got a little bit lucky.

‘The goal at the end I thought just about summed it up. They were so lucky to get away with that for offside.

‘To be goading the Coventry players after what had happened I think is a little bit out of order.’

Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag looks on

Ten Hag was forced to defend his position after United’s win (Picture: Getty)

Sharpe feels United have been ‘crippled’ by injuries this season, leaving them further adrift the likes of Manchester City, Arsenal and Liverpool in competing for the Premier League title.

‘They’re miles off challenging for the title, obviously,’ Sharpe added.

‘If they’d have got a season where they had no injuries and had a full squad to pick from and the manager could have had a bit of consistency, they might have had more of a chance of competing with Aston Villa and Tottenham for fourth place.

‘I do think injuries have crippled them this season, I don’t think the manager has picked the same back four for more than two games in a row.

‘The manager has come out said that he’s not been able to pick his best team all season because of injuries so he has missed some big players.

‘But still, that’s a long, long way from where Manchester United need to be. Sir Jim Ratcliffe has got a huge job on his hands.

‘We’re already seeing changes at the football club and I think we’ll continue to see that from now until the start of next season.’

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