Season summary: Dalot's path to award success

Wednesday 29 May 2024 11:52

Diogo Dalot can look back with pride on an impressive 2023/24 campaign for him individually.

The Portuguese defender took part in all but two of Manchester United’s 52 games across all competitions and was often one of the first names on Erik ten Hag’s team sheet.

Dalot has developed into a modern right-back who can contribute decisively at both ends of the pitch, but due to injuries he was asked to adapt throughout the season, playing left-back – and doing it well – for much of the final three months.

The 25-year-old was a deserved winner of the Reds’ Players’ Player of the Year award and here are five key games that led to him scooping that prize…

Dalot named Players' Player of the Year


The ever-improving, ever-consistent full-back has earned his team-mates' recognition after a solid 2023/24.


It’s easy to forget that Dalot, fresh from signing a new long-term contract with United in the summer, started the first two games of the league season on the bench. The absences of Tyrell Malacia and Luke Shaw opened a vacancy at left-back, though, and Diogo stepped up as the Reds came from two goals down to beat Forest 3-2. Only suspension would keep him off the pitch in the league after that – our no.20 has been a bastion of consistency in an injury-hit season for the team overall.

“It was just 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 told us recently.


Saturday 21 October 2023 will forever be a melancholy date for Manchester United and our fans. The death of club icon Sir Bobby Charlton was announced hours before our visit to Bramall Lane and, naturally, the team wanted to win to honour his memory. The South Yorkshire club, struggling at the foot of the league, held firm though and it took a spectacular late curler from Dalot – only his second league goal for the club – to force the affair on a difficult night for everyone associated with the Reds.

“We know it’s not easy to contribute to the family of Sir Bobby, but with a win, we gave a little bit of joy for a sad day. We are one family as United and we are all united in days like this,” Diogo reflected after the game.

Highlights: Sheffield United v United Video

Highlights: Sheffield United v United

Highlights | Watch the key moments from our meeting with the Blades on a poignant night at Bramall Lane...


The return of Shaw, along with Casemiro and Lisandro Martinez, helped set the Reds on something of a roll in the early months of 2024 and West Ham were one of the sides convincingly dispatched, with Alejandro Garnacho and Rasmus Hojlund among the goals in a 3-0 win. But things may have been different, had Dalot not executed a superb sliding tackle on Jarrod Bowen, with the winger seemingly guaranteed to score. It was a reminder that, for all his improvements in attacking areas, Dalot’s no.1 target is still stopping the opponents.

“I know that he was in a good position to score, free with the keeper,” he said. “So I just used my speed to try to get there as fast as I could. We don’t score as often as forwards. For us, this is our goals - that we have achieved a much-needed clean sheet. It gives us confidence back there.”

You shall not pass Dalot Video

You shall not pass Dalot

Player highlights | Diogo Dalot is his name, and making brilliant blocks is his game...


The following week, we beat Champions League-chasing Aston Villa at Villa Park, with Scott McTominay heading home the deciding goal, from Dalot’s laser-accurate cross. It was nowhere near as spectacular a strike as Garnacho’s overhead kick at Everton – Diogo’s previous league assist – but the delivery was just spot-on and clearly something our no.20 has been working at with the forwards at Carrington.

“That’s one of the key areas for me: always trying to cross in difficult positions that defenders will have some struggles to defend it,” he said. “Me, being a defender, I know what is more difficult for me than other types of crosses, so we always try to find [those] positions and try to put the centre-forward in the best positions to score.”

Highlights: Aston Villa v United Video

Highlights: Aston Villa v United

Watch the best bits from our trip to Villa Park...


A microcosm of Dalot’s season as a whole? Diogo was defensively decisive for the first hour of our final-day success at Brighton, before breaking the deadlock with what has become one of his trademark forays forward. It was his third goal of the campaign – he also notched at Wigan, in the Emirates FA Cup – a new personal best to cap off a career-high term.

“We know the runs in behind, especially from players that come from behind, is difficult to defend,” Diogo mused. “Throughout the season, I think I’ve had good chances to score in this position, so I’m happy today it paid off in the last game of the season.”