Diogo Dalot debut assessed: Right-back impresses for Man Utd
Portuguese right-back made bow after £19m move from Porto in summer
By Gerard Brand
Last Updated: 20/09/18 12:17pm
We take a closer look at Diogo Dalot's impressive debut for Manchester United as they beat Young Boys 3-0 in Bern.
The Portuguese right-back had missed the start of the season due to injury following his £19m move from Porto, but got his chance to shine on Wednesday night on the biggest stage.
Jose Mourinho has already given him a big billing, insisting he is the best full-back in Europe in his age group, and he certainly showed promise in a hard-fought United win.
Replacing Antonio Valencia, who was left at home due to concerns as to how he would react to the artificial pitch in Switzerland, 19-year-old Dalot was energetic from the off.
In the first 30 minutes, Dalot broke free down the right on three occasions, drawing Young Boys left-back Loris Benito in before beating him for pace with ease.
Even when his touch went awry on the right touchline, giving Benito a few yards head-start, Dalot simply strode past him to cross at the byline.
Getting to the byline is one thing; delivering incisively is another. His four crosses were hit and miss, but it is clear Mourinho will look to use both Luke Shaw and Dalot regularly given their superior pace as United look to exploit the flanks with more regularity.
What stood out most was Dalot's confidence. He looked comfortable in a United shirt, closer to the age of the man he replaced than his 19 years and mere 32 senior career appearances.
We'll no doubt see more of Dalot this season, and he even spoke maturely after the game about the importance of competition for places at full-back in Mourinho's team.
Diogo Dalot v Young Boys
"That's good for the team, that's competition, that's what every player likes," he told MUTV. "My job is to make a difficult decision for the coach."
After the game, Mourinho reserved a special mention for Dalot, who completed 90 minutes on his United bow.
"If he starts arriving in possible scoring positions, that can be a plus for the team. I am happy with that. The team had good stability in the midfield to allow him to go into these kind of positions. I am happy with the good solid performance of the team, more than any individual.
"It was a very good, solid performance after knee surgery. Everyone can see the potential and everyone could see he's a 19 year old player who has more than 10 years to play for Manchester United."
United fans mustn't get carried away; this was a 7/10 performance which slowed down in the second half, and were it not for Christian Fassnacht getting the ball stuck under his foot inside the box, Dalot's slip at the vital moment may have proved costly at 0-0.
But the way Dalot held himself in tricky surroundings and on a difficult surface was extremely promising as Valencia reaches his mid-30s and Mourinho looks to the future.