Dalot: Why I love the FA Cup
In-form full-back Diogo Dalot has his eyes set on winning silverware at Manchester United and would love to achieve that in the “most special” competition, the FA Cup.
Our 22-year-old defender has played in Portugal, with his first club FC Porto, and Italy, where he had a one-year loan spell at AC Milan, and so has already experienced a variety of knockout competitions across Europe.
The FA Cup holds a special place in many people’s hearts in England and, as United prepare to host Aston Villa in the third round at Old Trafford on Monday night (kick-off 19:55 GMT), Dalot understands the romance that surrounds it.
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“After playing a few cup games now in different leagues and in different countries, then I’d say the FA Cup is probably the most special one you can play in,” Dalot said, “because of the history it has and the atmosphere you have in these kinds of games.”
Last weekend’s fixtures have already shown why it’s unique, at least in English football, for its ability to present such wild upsets, like Kiddersminster Harriers’ triumph over Reading or Cambridge United’s win at St. James’ Park.
For bigger clubs like United, and for both fans and players alike, part of the joy of the Cup is the chance it gives to visit the storied, old-fashioned grounds of lower league clubs. Dalot was one of the scorers in our 2020 rout of Tranmere Rovers at Prenton Park, and remembers the occasion fondly.
“I remember it was a very tough pitch to play on, probably one of the worst pitches I’ve played on, but we went there with the right mentality,” he explained in a sit down with United Review, which you can order here.
“Sometimes it’s not easy to play these types of games on these types of pitches when you’re used to playing on very high-quality pitches, but we went there with the right mentality and energy and we had some very good goals there.
“I remember Harry’s goal was fantastic, then to score my goal was a very good feeling and I have that shirt [from the game] framed to mark my first Man United goal, and I will remember that day forever.”
As for this season, Aston Villa present a tough challenge in the third round.
“We’re facing a good team and we need to be at our best level to go through to the next round,” Dalot admitted.
“We want to start this competition well. We’re playing to win every single competition.
“I can’t lie – it would be a fantastic achievement for me if I could win an FA Cup for this club and hopefully we can lift the trophy at the end of the season.”