Why does Dalot love the Premier League?
Manchester United full-back Diogo Dalot agrees that the Premier League is probably the strongest league in the world at the moment – and he feels the busy winter schedule is one of the competition’s major strengths.
Amidst Carabao Cup and Emirates FA Cup outings, the Reds have already beaten Nottingham Forest, Wolves and Bournemouth since the World Cup break, moving into the top four for the first time since March as we continue to make progress under Erik ten Hag.
Our credentials will be put to the test over the next fortnight, with Saturday’s Manchester derby our next Old Trafford league date, followed by two tricky trips to the capital.
A meeting with league leaders Arsenal has long been in the diary for Sunday 22 January, but the postponed Crystal Palace game at Selhurst Park from September has now been placed into the schedule four days before that mouthwatering clash.
Despite the busy agenda, Dalot is loving the demands of the English top-flight compared to his previous experiences of playing in Portugal, with FC Porto, and Italy, where he spent a season on loan at AC Milan.
“I agree that it is probably the best league to play if you are a player that likes excitement, if you are a player that likes intensity, if you are a player that likes – sorry I don’t know if there is a better word: mess, this type of busy schedule,” Dalot said, in today’s fan conference at Carrington.
“If you have this type of mentality I think it is the best league to play.
“Obviously we are not all the same, there's a lot of players that would probably prefer to play in another league, but for me individually, having played in these three countries, I would say it is the league that I enjoy the most because I like this intensity of schedules.
“The way that English people live this game, the way that everybody talks about the Premier League: it's like the world stops at the weekends to watch it and I think that made me love this country and obviously the Premier League.”
That’s not to say that the 23-year-old, who is a keen thinker and talker about the game, hasn’t taken learnings from his experiences abroad.
Dalot made 33 appearances for the Rossoneri in 2020/21, helping them to a second-place finish in Serie A, and that Italian adventure has clearly made an impact in terms of helping the full-back adapt to a different football culture and develop a wider tactical understanding.
“I also am glad that I played in Italy and in Portugal because you also get experiences in different cultures and knowledge and I have to say that in Italy I loved to play there. I learned a lot,” he added.
“I also say that in Italy it's more a manager's game and in England it is more a player's game.
“[Here] it's more focused on the players, the individuals, the goals that these players score, the assists that these players score and in Italy it is about the managers: this manager wants to beat this manager, tactically this manager is better than this one.
“So I see it in this way but that doesn't make Italy less or bigger, but I have to say that I prefer to play in the Premier League.”