Diogo Dalot hails technical director for inspiring Manchester United turnaround

Diogo Dalot has established himself as a key figure under Erik ten HagDiogo Dalot has established himself as a key figure under Erik ten Hag
Diogo Dalot has established himself as a key figure under Erik ten Hag
Diogo Dalot has been one of Man Utd’s most consistent performers all season.

Manchester United defender Diogo Dalot has hailed the guidance he received from AC Milan legend Paolo Maldini as a key turning point in his career.

Dalot struggled for regular playing time during his first two seasons at Old Trafford before he was loaned out to Milan for the 2020/21 season in order to gain valuable experience.

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The Portuguese full-back made 33 appearances during his solitary season in Serie A and benefitted from the advice he was given by Milan technical director and Italian football royalty Maldini.

“I played loads of minutes, which I needed, as I’d not played regularly for almost a year and a half,” Dalot told FourFourTwo. “Culturally it was important, too – to play in another league and learn a new language. Milan is a cool city, but because of COVID, most things were closed.”

While the legendary defender did not have a day-to-day role on the training pitch, he was always on hand to mentor the United loanee whenever he needed any advice.

Dalot added: “He’s a cool guy and his presence as a director was good for us. He was close to the players, but knew his boundaries. He wouldn’t step into the manager’s decisions and contradict him, but he’d say, “You’re playing well but you could do this better. Sometimes it wasn’t just technical advice, but mental messages, like, “Be more patient” or “Try to focus on this situation”. When I arrived, he spoke to me in English, but I asked him to speak to me in Italian as I improved.”

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Dalot returned to Old Trafford a much better player and has since established himself as one of the key figures under Erik ten Hag. The full-back is considered one of the favourites to pick up the club’s Sir Matt Busby Player of the Year award this season.

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