Dalot deserves praise for part in wonder goal
Diogo Dalot’s role in Marcus Rashford’s stunning world-class finish naturally did not draw most of the attention after Manchester United’s 2-1 win over Brighton & Hove Albion .
It was all about the Mancunian striker marking his 150th senior appearance with a memorable, unbelievable goal that will rank among the best in front of the Stretford End.
But as the red shirts converged on Rashford at the corner flag to celebrate the wonder strike, it was noticeable that Ander Herrera for one made a point of picking out full-back Dalot in the mass huddle to congratulate him on his part.
Victor Lindelof, too, slapped the 19-year-old Portuguese defender on the back as he launched himself into the joyful melee swamping Rashford. And Dalot certainly deserves his name to be preserved in any video clips of the goal that wowed Old Trafford.
The teenager produced adventure in the build-up to take on and sweep past his marker. He then showed intelligence not to just hare down into a cul-de-sac near the corner flag but to check, take a moment to see where his team-mates were, and then slide a pass to Rashford to engineer his sublime effort.
Dalot is being eased into action at United and not surprisingly, since it is not yet even a year since he made his senior Primeira Liga debut in Portugal for Porto coming on as a sub against Rio Ave FC.
But he is taking everything in his stride and against Brighton he had to adjust his matchday mindset quickly to step in at the last minute to answer caretaker manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s SOS after left-back Luke Shaw fell ill before the game.
From anticipating an afternoon largely wrapped up in his tracksuit, Dalot was suddenly asked to start the match; speaking after the match, the Portuguese seemed unperturbed by the lack of notice.
“We need to be prepared for that. For those of us who are on the bench we need to be prepared to play and so I was happy to play,” Diogo told MUTV.
Not only was he thrust late into the action, he was also asked to stand in as left-back instead of his more customary right-back berth. Though the role is not alien to him as he has played in the position in the past, it was still a relatively new experience for him. But again this didn’t faze Dalot.
"I feel comfortable in every position, as long as I can play. Players at Manchester United need to know what to do in every position and I was very comfortable and it was good for me, yes,” he added.
"Of course I am enjoying it [at United]. Always, every day, enjoying every day. I keep learning every day, giving some mistakes but learning [from them] and that's how it is."
So how did Diogo view his part in Rashford’s goal?
”I tried to give the ball to Marcus and Marcus did the rest. It was an amazing goal, it was very good, very good,” he said modestly.
"He's on fire, on fire for sure. He always keeps surprising us. Marcus is on fire and we are thankful for having him in the team. He just needs to keep going and we'll try to help him keep going.”
United looked to be heading for a cruise against Brighton after Rashford added to Paul Pogba’s penalty. But Chris Hughton's side recovered in the second half to claw a goal back and turn the Old Trafford finale into a nail-biter.
"I think if we had got the third goal right after the second half [started], the game would be different but this is the Premier League and when we don't score, we can be close to conceding a goal,” said Diogo.
“Unfortunately we conceded a goal but then we kept it tight and we got the three points, that's the most important thing.
“The top four is in our heads and it's our main goal for now and we are keeping that in mind. But like I said it's about hard work and keeping going, that's what Man United is.
"It's hard work. We have been working so hard and we want to keep like this and be better if possible. We're already thinking about Friday to beat Arsenal [in the Emirates FA Cup].”Reading this in our app? If not, you might miss some exclusive features not found on ManUtd.com. Download the Official App here.