Manchester United take on Aston Villa this weekend aiming to continue a promising run of form that has seen Erik ten Hag’s side go nine matches without defeat. First-choice right-back Diogo Dalot has been one of the key men behind that string of impressive results. The plaudits rightly coming his way are just reward for the patience and hard work he has shown to turn his Old Trafford career around.
How Diogo Dalot Rose to the Challenge of Excelling at Manchester United
Right-Back’s Days at Old Trafford Once Looked Numbered
Dalot has started all twelve of United’s matches so far in the Premier League this season, in his fourth year at the club after signing from FC Porto in 2018.
The defender’s compatriot José Mourinho brought the young man to the club in the hope that he would establish himself in the years to come. Long after the Special One’s departure, he is now doing exactly that, having been unfairly maligned during the reign of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
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The Norwegian never truly took to Dalot’s abilities and did not seem to believe in the player in the way current boss Ten Hag clearly does. Solskjaer’s decision to shell out an eye-watering £50 million to recruit Aaron Wan-Bissaka – to fill the right-back slot in his side appeared to spell the end of the player’s Old Trafford career.
He was shipped out on loan to AC Milan during the 2020/21 season and even returned to Manchester as something of a forgotten man in March 2021, playing against his parent club in a Europa League last-16 tie.
Belief Restored Under Erik ten Hag
At the time of that Europa League encounter, the odds of Dalot ever succeeding at Old Trafford appeared stacked against him. However, the club have hit the reset button under new manager Ten Hag, and the Portuguese right-back is now prospering, having never given up on his objectives.
United appear more than happy with his continued development, and his manager confirmed as much following the team’s recent 1-0 win over West Ham United last time out in the Premier League.
Diogo Dalot has started the last 23 games for United.
That’s simply incredible consistency and fitness.
He’s so underrated. 👏 #MUFC pic.twitter.com/8YXWnSBMUn
— Stretford Paddock (@StretfordPaddck) October 29, 2022
Ten Hag said: “I hope [Diogo] keeps progressing, not only sticking to this level. We are really happy with the development of Diogo.”
As the Dutch manager and his players make the trip to Villa Park aiming to continue the development of the squad, one man who will surely be on the team sheet is the once-forgotten Dalot.