Sancho rejoined his former side on loan this week having been exiled by Ten Hag since August after a fall out with the United boss and the 23-year-old came off the bench to grab an assist on his Dortmund debut.
Despite only playing 77 minutes of football this season, Sancho had been training alone in order to keep fit and the winger was praised for his work rate and energy as Dortmund emerged 3-0 winners at Darmstadt.
Speaking in a press conference prior to Sancho’s cameo, Ten Hag was reminded that Cristiano Ronaldo also left Old Trafford 12 months ago in similar circumstances and the United boss responded to questions over instilling his discipline on the squad.
“If you want to perform you need hungry players,” said Ten Hag. “You need players with personalities who are hungry to fight for the badge and fight for this club. And they need to do this as a team.
“It’s not about discipline. It’s about normal behaviour. That is what you can expect from a top professional.”
Sancho already increasing the pressure on Antony with Dortmund display
Sancho’s productive return to the Bundesliga attracted attention on the eve of the England star’s parent club preparing to face off against Tottenham in a bid to return to winning ways in the Premier League.
United defeated Wigan in the FA Cup third round last week but the Red Devils had won just two of their previous nine games in all competitions and lost to Nottingham Forest in their last league game.
Sancho’s bright start for Dortmund will only increase pressure on Antony, who has come under intense scrutiny this season having failed to score or assist in 21 league and cup games.
Although Ten Hag and the club stand behind the decision to discipline Sancho despite United’s struggle to find quality in attack this season, a negative result against Tottenham and another poor display from Antony could generate more unwelcome headlines and comparisons to what could have been.