Many of the Manchester United fans at Old Trafford tonight (Tuesday) will get a first sighting of Diogo Dalot in the flesh as the right-back prepares to face Derby County in the Carabao Cup third round.
The summer recruit from Porto has played at the ground for the Under-23s, in order to build his fitness after knee surgery, and, of course, enjoyed an impressive senior debut in the Champions League triumph against Young Boys.
Jose Mourinho has already revealed the youngster will start against the Rams and it will be interesting to see how he fares against the Championship side.
”I’m looking forward to playing at Old Trafford, with our fans, and hopefully having a great game and helping the team to win,” he told MUTV.
“It was good [playing there for the Under-23s].
“Like I’ve said many times, it was a dream to play in that stadium and now to see how the atmosphere is with a full stadium, hopefully. I think it will be great.
“I know it’s always a tough competition because teams in the second league play with their maximum to play against us, particularly at Old Trafford,”he added.
“They will be totally motivated to play against us so we need to be prepared.”Frank Lampard will enjoy his first game as a manager at the Theatre of Dreams, after being a respected rival during his playing days, and that will add some extra spice to the occasion as the Chelsea legend pits his wits against his former boss at Stamford Bridge.
“He [Lampard] is experienced for sure and it will be good to pass that on to his players,”explained Dalot.
“So we need to be prepared for everything. Mostly, I think it’s about us and our game and the way we are going to play. I think we need to stay together and fight for the win.“It’s a major competition, like every competition in England. It’s a competition everybody wants to play in, so we want to win and that’s it.”
The Carabao Cup final – on Sunday 24 February 2019 – may seem a long way off, and it is obviously far too early to think about going all the way in a tough competition. However, Jose's record in it (he has won it four times) and the fact United lifted the trophy in 2017 does give cause for optimism that there is the potential for another strong showing.
Any prospect of running out in the red shirt at Wembley forms part of what Dalot has dreamed about since starting his career in his native Portugal. The Reds have been regular visitors to the famous venue and will look to start another fine run there after seven successive victories in cup and Community Shield games came to an end with the 1-0 loss to Chelsea in the Emirates FA Cup final earlier this year.
“It’s like playing at Old Trafford, playing at Wembley and every other stadium in England,” he said.
“It’s huge and a dream come true to be playing in this country, so it would be really good.”
'Derby have Premier League potential' article
United keeper Lee Grant knows what his former side are capable of in tonight's Carabao Cup tie.