Diogo Dalot to ‘fulfil responsibility’ of bringing success to Manchester United

Diogo Dalot is determined to kick on and help Manchester United fulfil what he calls their responsibility to be successful after committing his long-term future to the club.

A decade has now passed since the Red Devils won their 20th league title, with the resulting post-Sir Alex Ferguson era full of ups, downs and too little silverware.

Dalot is now under his fifth either permanent or interim manager since joining United from Porto in 2018 but Erik ten Hag’s promising first season suggests the club are back on track.

The meticulous Dutchman has changed style and mindset at a club that are desperate to push on from their third-placed Premier League finish and Carabao Cup triumph.

“(Last season) brings us momentum, energy as well, to look back on what we did last year,” Dalot told the PA news agency.

“It has to bring us energy to build even more, to raise the bar a little bit higher.

“I think we have all the conditions to give a little bit more and plus, so we can even get better from what we did last year.

“It doesn’t fully (reflect) on the entire success that this football club works for and deserves.

“Like our manager said, we see it as progress, a little step forward.

“Obviously playing two finals, winning a trophy, being up there competing for the Premier League, that’s where we want to aim.

“We know that it’s difficult, we have a lot of teams to compete (against), but we are Man United, so we have to look (at) that not as a motivation but as a responsibility to fulfil the objectives of this club.”

Improving on last season will be a challenge given treble-winning rivals Manchester City’s quality and the improvements made by the Premier League’s other top clubs.

Brighton and Hove Albion v Manchester United – Emirates FA Cup – Semi Final – Wembley Stadium

Manchester United’s Marcel Sabitzer, Victor Lindelof and Diogo Dalot celebrate the winning the penalty shoot-out during the Emirates FA Cup semi final (Mike Egerton, PA)

But Dalot is in no doubt that United are back on the up and that he is in the right place to succeed, having recently signed a new deal until 2028 with an option for a further season.

“I think it’s a combination of me and the club, the connection that we have,” the Portugal international said of that deal. “The project that the club believe that I can be a part of.

“Obviously the manager, the important role that he had since he came here to help me to develop even more, so I think this is the perfect combination for me.

“I didn’t have any doubts on keeping here at this club and fighting for even more.”

Dalot made a mightily impressive start to last season, with rejuvenated Aaron Wan-Bissaka flourishing towards the end of the campaign.

The United right-backs offer different attributes and their performances have meant that, unlike recent years, there has been little to no talk of the need to improve the position this summer.

“If you want to play for this club, you have to be able to compete – not just as a team, but as individual as well,” Dalot said.

“Every position we have at least now two players that can play and they can start a game for this club, so this is something that I’ve always said, and I’ve always kept on my mind that I like it.

“I like to have this type of competition and I think I have a good team-mate to do that, which makes me even more motivated to raise the level and fight for the position.”

Not only do United have depth in different positions but an improved number of leaders.

Harry Maguire has worn the captain’s armband in recent seasons and Ten Hag recently named Bruno Fernandes skipper.

“To be honest, knowing him as I know him, he’s not going to change the behaviour that he had since he came here,” Dalot said of his compatriot.

Manchester City v Manchester United – Emirates FA Cup Final – Wembley Stadium

Manchester United’s new captain Bruno Fernandes (Martin Rickett, PA)

“When he arrived, he always tried to get this natural leadership that he has inside of him.

“He is always a player that you can rely on. Obviously, being there every single game brings you even more confidence to have a team-mate like him, who gives you everything for the team.

“And then obviously, the personality that (he) has, that capacity to be a leader and we are happy that he’s one of the leaders of this team.”

Dalot hopes to help Fernandes drive standards at United having learned from arguably Portugal’s greatest ever player.

Cristiano Ronaldo’s exit from Old Trafford last November was acrimonious but his impact over two spells at the club left an indelible mark on his United team-mates during those times.

Portugal v Switzerland – FIFA World Cup 2022 – Round of 16 – Lusail Stadium

Portugal’s Diogo Dalot (left) and Cristiano Ronaldo during the FIFA World Cup in Qatar (Peter Byrne, PA)

Dalot remains close with the 38-year-old world star and said: “I mean, he helped me a lot outside of the pitch.

“Whether it’s the way he conducts himself every single day, I think the discipline that he has and he had through all his career brought me a lot.

“It was a joy for me to play with him and to be his team-mate. He helped me a lot.

“I will keep some things to myself but the general (thing) is that his discipline is what impressed me the most.

“Because you can be consistent, but you can be consistent in a bad way, and he was disciplined and consistent in a good way. That’s what I’ve learned the most from him.”

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