Dalot: I try to match the standards of this club every day

Friday 17 May 2024 14:12

In a season full of player injuries and inconsistent results, Diogo Dalot has been one of Manchester United's rocks.

No outfielder has made more than the Portuguese full-back's 48 appearances across all competitions, and his 35 Premier League games so far is nine beyond his previous best for a season.
And there's more. According to Opta data, Dalot ranks among the Premier League's best full-backs across a range of stats, both attacking and defensive, including chances created from open play, possession won and clearances.

Diogo's progress has been one of the real bright spots in a challenging campaign, and has thrust the defender into the middle of fans' conversations about who should take home the Sir Matt Busby Player of the Year award.

Ahead of the season's final league game, away to Brighton this Sunday, we sat down with the 25-year-old at Carrington to get his thoughts on those end-of-season awards and his own personal development. Here are some exclusive excerpts from the full interview, which will be released tomorrow...

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"Obviously it doesn’t taste the same when collectively you don’t get the results that we wanted since day one," began Diogo. "But individually, I think I’ve made a pretty good season so far. I’ve made a step forward, relating to previous seasons, which makes me happy, makes me feel that the work that I’ve been putting in is paying off."

Asked to explain the way in which he has improved, Diogo revealed that his target was to be more consistent and to simply be available for selection as much as possible.

"It was an objective for me, and a goal, to make especially the fans know and the staff and my team-mates know that I can be available and ready to play every single game," he said. "I tried to work every single day to try and be available for every single game. So far it’s been really good and I hope it continues for many, many years.
"Individually, I think I’ve been showing this season that I was much more consistent than I was in previous ones. So that was my main focus for this year: to try to be more consistent every game. To keep my individual performances at the same, certain level all the time. Obviously it is difficult to be always playing well and very well, but I think I’ve been pretty consistent, which makes me happy."

Dalot told us that, after Cristiano Ronaldo's return to United in 2021, he had "really got into" dedicating every moment of his day to preparing for games and focusing on recovery. And those habits have endured.

"I had the life experience to work with someone who was completely obsessed about it. By being with him so much of the time, that passed on to me. Now it’s just something that’s just part of me. I think I created this routine where I have to take some time every single day to recover, to work on my mental part as well, my physical part. It’s all a routine now.

"It’s just trying to work on recovery, nutrition, all kinds of stuff that will make my body feel ready to play. Ultimately, our bodies are our tools; they're what we use to play football. I try to recover as fast as we can when the games are coming really fast.

"Mentally, obviously, it’s been a tough season. And when things are not going well, at this club, everything is bigger. Whether you’re winning or losing, everything is bigger, so you need to be really, really prepared mentally, to take all this pressure. To try to come to Carrington every single day to match the standards of the club, which are really high."

Vote for your Player of the Year


The fans' poll to decide the next recipient of the Sir Matt Busby trophy is now open.


The visible symbol of Dalot's burgeoning confidence and growing progress is perhaps the way he has increasingly stepped into midfield during 2023/24. And our no.20 admits that the challenge has been really enjoyable.

"It’s something that’s really helped me to improve, especially my awareness, because when you’re playing in midfield you have to constantly scan the game all the time. You have to always try to be in the best body shape to receive the ball, and don’t lose it because you’re in the key areas if you lose the ball.

"That definitely brought me something good for my game, and I really enjoyed putting this into my game."

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Dalot is expected to challenge strongly for both the Sir Matt Busby Player of the Year - voting for this is open to fans now - and the Players' Player of the Year awards.

But the Portuguese hinted that the Players' Player accolade might be the one he is most keen to win. Several of Diogo's team-mates have already suggested that he might get their vote, and Dalot says that show of professional respect makes the award even more meaningful. 
"For me, it’s even more special [than the main award]," he admitted. "I have a lot of consideration for the fans; they are a big part of me and the biggest part of this club.
"But my team-mates are the ones who see each other every single day. We have to come here and we still have to fight and we still have to share these moments when things are not going well and when the things are going well.

"This, ultimately, is my second family and this recognition by your team-mates, I think it’s really special, because they see you every day, they know the work that you put in behind the scenes. And it shows that this recognition is really important."