ERIK TEN HAG returns to Carrington today after a short break to recharge his batteries.
But with more problems piling up while he has been away, Manchester United’s Dutch boss must already feel like he needs another holiday.
Tricky fixtures against Brighton and then Bayern Munich in theten days are the last thing he needs right now.
The Red Devils just told Antony to stay away until further notice.
United have come under increasing pressure over the last week to take action amid allegations of domestic violence against the 23-year-oldwinger.
His national team wasted no time in axing him from their squad for this week’s— yet the Old Trafford giants initially chose to bide their time.
Now, though, chief executive Richard Arnold — with the full blessing of Ten Hag — has decided the £85.5million signing should be given leave of absence.
Antony broke down in tears during a TV interview in his homeland on Friday night — a sign the last few days have clearly taken their toll on him.
Now he can focus fully on clearing his name rather than.
But it all means Ten Hag must manage without a player he pushed hard to sign from his old clubjust 12 months ago.
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In truth, Antony — who worked under Ten Hag in the Netherlands— has struggled to live up to his bumper price tag.
And now another player the Dutch tactician wasfor this season is off the table for what looks to be a key period for United.
Do not forget it was only three weeks ago that United performed a U-turn and announced 21-year-old Mason Greenwood would not play for them again.
In the weeks leading up to that decision, the feeling was he would return to the fold after charges including attempted rape and assault were dropped.
Greenwood is now at Spanish side Getafe on loan.
So, with those two forwards out of the picture, it would normally be an opportunity for Jadon Sancho to seize his chance.
But of course it is not as simple as that — it never is at Old Trafford these days.
The £73m winger is due to return to training on Monday and cross paths with Ten Hag for the first time since their public spat.
Sancho, 23, was left out of the squad for the Red Devils’ 3-1 defeat atlast Sunday, with the manager openly criticising his performances in training.
Theinternational was quick to respond on social media, suggesting the reasons given by Ten Hag were “completely untrue” and he had been made a “scapegoat”.
Eight days later, Sancho’s statement is still up for all to read.
It promises to be a tense start to the week at United’s HQ when the pair cross paths.
Ten Hag feels let down by Sancho, particularly after giving him time off last season to deal with “physical and mental” issues.
And after an unconvincing start to the campaign, a senior player publicly challenging his authority has done him no favours.
It is hard to see a way back for the formerCity trainee, who has also tested the patience of some of his team-mates.
A move toemerged as a possibility for Sancho last week but collapsed after Al-Ittihad would not agree to United’s demands.
Ten Hag will also hope the injury problems which have blighted his team’s start to the season do not get any worse during the international break.
For the defeat at Arsenal, he was without defenders, and , as well as new midfielder .
Lisandro Martinez limped off at Arsenal with a foot injury which was still bothering him when he met up with.
And Ten Hag will also have an eye on Cameroon’squalifier against Burundi.
Andre Onana recently performed a U-turn on his international retirement and shouldqualify, it is likely to mean United’s new keeper will miss seven games to play in the tournament which starts in January.
So against that backdrop, Ten Hag must find a way to kick-start United’s season.
The defeats at Arsenal and Spurs were not unexpected given his team’s problems away from home against the Prem’s leading lights.
But their home victories over Wolves andwere hardly convincing.
Now they face Roberto De Zerbi’s Brighton, who are six places above United in sixth.
And then a week on Wednesday it is theiropener at Bayern Munich, where they will come face to face with Harry Kane — the they wanted this .
The England captain, who has made such a promising start to life in, must be thinking he dodged a bullet.