Diogo Dalot

Dalot delighted to be back in action

Friday 20 December 2019 11:50

Diogo Dalot could hardly have timed his return better.

The Portuguese full-back has recovered from injury and, provided his guest appearance for Manchester United Under-19s against Milan goes well this evening, he'll be available to play for the first team during the hectic Christmas and New Year schedule. 

We spoke to Diogo earlier this week to find out the latest on his fitness and his readiness to help Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's men take on four Premier League fixtures in an eleven-day spell.
Dalot last played for the first team on 6 October, away to Newcastle United.
First of all, Diogo, how delighted are you to be back in full training?

"Oh, for me it's massive. It's been a tough season. Last year I had a setback at the same time [of the season], but it makes me grow [stronger]. It makes me a better player and a better man. My mind grows as well. But it's been good this week to get back to training with the team fully. I'm fully recovered and now it's about getting back my fitness and coming back stronger to help the team."

Are you a very driven and determined person, and do you therefore get impatient when you are injured?

"Maybe at the beginning. I'm that person who always tries to do what I can control and do it every time. So when something happens and I'm not sure why, that's when I get a little bit frustrated and that's the difficult part for me. I just need to know that sometimes things happen without an explanation and you need to be prepared for that. Injuries can happen in football and in my mind that wasn't clear, so every time I got injured, for me it was new because I'd had no previous injuries. But now when you get to this level [of football], it's normal to get [injuries like] that and it was very good for me to understand that. Sometimes you have to be more patient about that and just know that it's the normal path."
How important are the medical staff at the Aon Training Complex in helping to not only repair your injury but also to manage your expectations and to help you with that impatience?

"I think seventy, eighty per cent of the recovery is down to the people around you. And it's not just the medical department, even your family and friends. I like to go home and be a little bit distracted, not to go home and think about the injury and the treatment. I just want to go home and think about other things and do other things, have a normal life. But to answer your question, I think it's very important for the medical department to push you when they need to push you and sometimes to put the brakes on when you are doing more than you need to do. This medical department has been fantastic with me. Every time I have some problems, they help me. And that's not just me, every player. I'm thankful of course for the way they treat me."

And now that you're back in full training, you want to repay them and repay the fans. How soon can you be back playing on the pitch?

"I hope as soon as possible. Of course that doesn't depend fully, 100 per cent, on me. Of course the manager will decide that and my job is to give everything in training to be ready for him. And when the manager thinks I am ready, I will it, I will be there for sure."
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It's a very competitive squad now with so much quality in every position. How do you view the competition for your own place in the team?

"I've said it a couple of times - for me, it's the perfect way to develop and to grow. Talking about me of course, Aaron [Wan-Bissaka] is in a very good mood and is playing very well and for me that makes me push harder and even harder. I like that. Like I have said, the easy way is always to run away from your problems. Of course, this is a good problem, not a bad problem. I think this will make me a better player, it will make Aaron a better player and make the team even better because this kind of competition is very good for the team."

You have come back at the perfect time because we're entering the busiest spell of the season, with so many games to be played over Christmas and New Year...

"That's the thing when you play for a club like this, you need to be ready to play three games in one week. Of course it's difficult to play that for two or three months, every single game, so we need to be ready for any kind of changes and I think I'll be ready for what's coming and be prepared for that."
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Watching from the sidelines, what have you made of the recent results and performances - in particular the games against Tottenham and Manchester City?

"I think they were massive. The most enjoyable part is when you come to the training ground after games like that, everyone is happy and everyone is fully motivated to go again and you just want to be a part of that. Of course, when you are out [injured] and you can't help the team, it's difficult inside your mind but when the team wins it is a little bit easier because you know that the lads are doing good. Of course when results are not so good, you wish you were there, you wish you could help the team. But again, it [being injured] is part of football and you need to focus on the other side of it because when that part comes, you need to be ready as soon as possible. You need to focus on your recovery so you will be there to help the team."

Can you feel the positive mood in the air when you walk into the Aon Training Complex the day after an important win?

"Yes, in football, someone said that the face of the guy who wins is not the same as the face of the guy who loses. When the results are not good, you can see the frustration and the mood, like you said, in the dressing room. I think that's the right path. That's when you know we're going in the right direction. If you lose a game and the next day you are happy, something is wrong. For us, it's like a routine. If you lose, you can't come in the next day hoping that someone will be happy for it or is not sad, because it needs to be frustrating. Of course, you're not just going in there and not looking at anyone or not talking to anyone, it's not like that. But you need to see the frustration and the motivation to go into training and push even harder because you know that in football, you don't have time to rest and you don't have time to cry about the results because next weekend you have a game."

Does a victory like the one against City affect all the staff at the training ground, not just the players?

"Of course. Every single person comes and congratulates you for the win but you also have the other people, the most experienced ones who come to you and say, 'Okay, this is not enough. You're winning but that's normal. You're at Man United and you need to win every game.' So you need to push harder and harder and harder. That's the mindset of this club."

The Under-19 friendly between United and AC Milan, featuring Diogo Dalot as a guest player, will be shown live on MUTV. Coverage starts at 18:45 GMT, 15 minutes before kick-off, and entry at Leigh Sports Village is free for all fans.