Aston Villa star Douglas Luiz has hit back at Rio Ferdinand after the Manchester United icon laughed at his goal celebration against the Red Devils. Luiz performed a shimmy right in front of United defender Raphael Varane after scoring the equaliser in Sunday’s Premier League clash.
United went on to win 2-1 thanks to Scott McTominay’s late goal, with Erik ten Hag claiming that Luiz’s celebration might have ‘fuelled’ his side. After McTominay headed home in the 86th minute, Varane made a beeline for Luiz and referee Rob Jones had to intervene.
The Villa midfielder has now responded to mocking from the former United defender Ferdinand, claiming that the celebration was a reference to carnival season in his native Brazil. The now-television pundit posted a picture of the dance on social media platform X.
“You okay?” Ferdinand wrote alongside several laughing emojis.
In a blunt response, Luiz said: “I’m good, thanks. It’s just carnival time in Brazil.”
Luiz had equalised after the in-form Rasmus Hojlund put United ahead at Villa Park. Ten Hag agreed with the suggestion that Villa’s celebration spurred United on to grab a late winner.
“I don’t have an opinion about that,” the United boss said when asked about the incident and Varane’s reaction to Luiz after McTominay’s goal. “I haven’t spoken to the players. Maybe it is [fueling], I don’t know.
“I don’t think it is important. It is about us, we have to think about our game and not the opposition.”
United’s victory continued an unbeaten start to 2024 for Ten Hag’s side. After a dismal first few months of the season, the Red Devils are sixth in the Premier League and only six points off fourth-placed Tottenham. Victory over Villa also closed the gap on the Midlands-based outfit, who are now fifth.
Ten Hag – who has rescued his job in recent weeks after being strongly linked with the sack – was delighted with the control his side imposed on a difficult game.
“The way we did it, I liked it. I especially liked the first 20 minutes when we controlled the game. But once we scored we changed our mind-set. For me, you must play on,” the Dutchman said.
“It was too much like a tennis match, we had problems in the counter-attack. It was so open and it could go two ways but we found the mentality and character to win the game.”