Diogo reveals Champions League aims
Diogo Dalot says he and his Manchester United team-mates are determined to make more special moments for the club in the Champions League, ahead of our opening group game against Young Boys this evening.
The Portuguese full-back made his United bow against the Swiss outfit three years ago as the Reds ran out impressive 3-0 winners.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men kick off our Group F campaign with a determination to improve on last season's disappointing group-stage exit and Dalot says everyone is focused on creating more memorable times in the tournament.
“It’s everything, not just the atmosphere, the joy to go out on the pitch and know you’re playing in one of the best competitions in the world,” he told us.
“The prestige it has, being at a club like Manchester United which has so much history in the competition as well; everything combined means there are the most beautiful nights to play football – Tuesday nights, Wednesday nights, there are always special moments in this competition and the most exciting part is about making special moments for the future.
“When we play Young Boys, we want to make that game one of those that will one day be remembered by many people. That’s the most exciting thing.
“Making my debut was a special moment for me and we’re going back to that same stadium. Hopefully we can end the night like we ended the first one there, with a win. I still have the memories on my phone [of that game] and sometimes I watch it, not to see how different I am, but to see the progress I have made and it also shows how fast time goes as well. It’s three years ago now. It’s a proud moment for me to go back and see how much I’ve grown and how much I’ve learnt so far.
“I think every Champions League group will be difficult,” he added.
“Some people might think some groups are easier than others, but we just need to focus on our group and the teams we need to face. First Young Boys, that’s our first focus in the Champions League and it’s step-by-step. We need the first three points, then we go again, that’s the journey in the Champions League, it’s always difficult, it’s like a marathon, we need to be ready and focused in every step. We don’t want to jump steps, we just want to be very well prepared in each step.
“I think that gives you a little bit of extra energy as well, to always do better than the previous season,” he continued. “Not just team-wise but individually as well. We want to do better always, season after season – that’s also a challenge for us as a team and as players to do better.”
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The Reds go into this season’s campaign with four new signings – Jadon Sancho, Raphael Varane, Tom Heaton and, of course, Cristiano Ronaldo.
Dalot is a close friend of Cristiano’s, having played together for Portugal at international level, and our no.20 reflected on finding out the news of his return and discussed what he’ll bring to the squad.
“It’s fantastic not just for me, but for everyone to have Cristiano here. He gives so much energy to everyone and he’s been fantastic,” said Diogo, speaking ahead of Ronaldo’s memorable second debut against Newcastle United.
“On the day [he signed] there was a lot of speculation and it was very good news for everyone involved. Everyone was buzzing with his return to United. I texted him and congratulated about him coming back. He said how happy he was to be part of this club again and he wants to help the team and that’s what we want. I know he will help us a lot this season.
“I think fans can expect the same Cristiano as always,” he added. “To be here winning what he has won and playing like he is playing you can expect the best. We are here to help him and he is here to help us as well and I think with everything combined we can do great things.”