Thursday, September 29, 2022

Dalot relishes Man Utd link-up with fellow Portuguese speaker Antony

SoccerNews in UEFA Europa League 7 Sep 2022

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Diogo Dalot hailed Antony’s instant impact at Manchester United and backed the winger to “adapt quickly”, with the partnership made easier between the pair due to their native Portuguese language.

Former Ajax winger Antony, who United paid an initial £81.3million (€95m) for, scored just three days after moving to Old Trafford as he netted in Sunday’s 3-1 win over Arsenal.

That strike made Antony, aged 22 years and 192 days, the youngest Brazilian to score on his Premier League debut for any team.

Dalot operated at right-back behind the 22-year-old, the Portugal international starting his sixth game in succession for United, which suggests he may be Erik ten Hag’s preferred option going forward.

While the pair hail from different countries, they both speak Portuguese – a factor that Dalot believes will help Antony settle into life in Manchester.

“I mean I think you could see the impact he had straight away in our team,” Dalot said of his team-mate as United prepare to face Real Sociedad in the Europa League on Thursday. 

“It will take time for us to adapt to each other, but I think he adapted really quickly in the few days that he had in training and especially in the game [3-1 win over Arsenal].

“Obviously it makes it a little bit easier for me to speak to him in Portuguese, it comes out a little bit quicker than English.

“But I think he’s a very good kid, very open to getting help as well, which is good, I think he’ll adapt quickly. Everybody welcomed him as if he’d been here a long time, and I’m sure he’ll be very successful.”

Antony is not the only Brazilian to arrive for Ten Hag’s side, with Casemiro leaving Real Madrid to join United, who have also brought in the likes of Christian Eriksen, Lisandro Martinez and Tyrell Malacia.

Those new signings appear to be settling in, with United recording four straight Premier League victories after opening with two defeats, including a 4-0 hammering at Brentford.

Ten Hag has constantly reiterated United are far from the finished article – sitting fifth in the embryonic Premier League table, just three points behind leaders Arsenal – and Dalot is glad to see an upturn in form.

“It’s always difficult when you lose games. Obviously, the mood is not the same, but in our heads we always come here every day to give 100 per cent, to get better in every aspect that we can,” he added.

“After Brentford, we had a full week to prepare for a game we knew would be difficult. We won it, it’s in the past, now we want to focus on tomorrow, and do the same thing every day, give 100 per cent and win games.”

Dalot started just 19 league games last season under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Ralf Rangnick, but believes Ten Hag is now rewarding him for fighting for his position with Aaron Wan-Bissaka.

“I’m enjoying the opportunities I’m being given. This is why I came here, to play games, to give my best every single game, to be ready for every game, and this is what I’ve been doing and what I’ve been fighting for,” he continued. 

“Competition will always be there, this is a club with high standards and high demands, this is the way that I like to work. I will try to keep on doing it for as long as I can. It’s been a very positive start.”

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