Dalot confident he can adapt to new style
Diogo Dalot is excited by the prospect of working under incoming Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag and believes he can tailor his game to suit the Dutchman's style of play.
The Portugal international has been impressed by Ten Hag's work at Ajax and feels his experience of already playing for several different coaches, even at the relatively young age of 23, will stand him in good stead for what lies ahead.
In an exclusive interview at Old Trafford this week, Dalot told us how much he admires the way the Amsterdam giants play and appreciates their enterprising system.
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"It’s going to be a fantastic opportunity to work with such a great manager," said Dalot.
"His work at Ajax is outstanding. I think everybody falls in love with the attractive football he has played with that Ajax team. I’m sure we are going to be very happy to have him here and to start to work with him.
"Hopefully, like I said, we can finish the [next] season fighting for trophies and being there with hunger and competing with the other teams. But we are going step by step, we’re going to start well and hopefully, next season, can do better than this one.”
Full-backs are viewed as being increasingly important in tactical formations and systems and this is likely to be the case when Ten Hag takes over the reins this summer, with players in those roles key to breaking opposition teams down.
“Yes, I think the full-back position has been growing a lot in terms of the game plan and the inside of the game," Diogo agreed. "For me, it has been a very good journey, to have different coaches with different ideas, so I can adapt to every situation.
“I’m sure, with the new manager, I will try to adapt quick and show I can help this team and this club. I think that’s the mentality everyone will have, to play, because, at the end of the day, we want to play but, first is the team.”
This summer's pre-season tour offers the perfect chance for everybody to get to know each other and first impressions will obviously be important when it comes to catching the new manager's eye. United are heading to Thailand and Australia for matches against Liverpool, Melbourne Victory, Crystal Palace and Aston Villa.
“Not just because it’s a tour, it’s just a good opportunity for everybody," continued Dalot. "A new start, a new chapter, a new era. I think everyone will be excited. I’m sure the manager is excited to work with us as well.
“We need to build everyone as a team, as a group, as a club, and, hopefully, next season, we can be solid and start the season well with a very good pre-season.”
There are still two Premier League games remaining this term, of course, starting with a trip to the Amex Stadium to face Brighton & Hove Albion in Saturday's 17:30 BST kick-off.
“Obviously, we want to finish well with good performances and good results," explained the defender.
"We did well in the last game and now we have Saturday to focus on. We know it’s going to be a difficult game as they are having a fantastic season this year.
“So we’ll be ready for any kind of challenge. We want to be at our best level possible and win the game.”