Diogo Dalot's stranglehold as Manchester United's first choice right-back grows
Manchester United’s defeat to Middlesbrough in the FA Cup fourth-round on penalties continued what has been a bitterly disappointing season.
After being knocked out of the Carabao Cup in the third round and being 19 points behind Premier League leaders Manchester City, the FA Cup presented the best chance of lifting silverware this season.
Yes, we are still in the Champions League and have every chance of reaching the quarter-finals, but it’s hard to see us progressing beyond the last-eight unless we got a favourable draw.
Last night’s defeat means our trophy drought is likely to extend to five years.
The Teesiders shouldn’t have had the opportunity to get back into the tie as Ralf Rangnick’s Reds should have been out of sight and missed a glut of glorious chances.
Diogo Dalot impresses once again
Although Aaron Wan-Bissaka, who had missed the last three Premier League games through illness, returned to the matchday squad, Rangnick stuck with Dalot at right-back.
Since the German was appointed as interim manager until the end of the season in November, the Portuguese international has started eight of the 11 games the 63-year-old has took charge off.
Whereas Wan-Bissaka has only started three and that included a Champions League dead-rubber against Young Boys.
Dalot currently looks in control of the spot and produced another impressive performance in the cup clash against the Championship side.
After travelling to Dubai and doing some warm weather training during the international break, Dalot’s energy levels didn’t waver during the 120 minutes of action.
He calmly dispatched his penalty and his importance to Rangnick’s side looks to be growing.
On current evidence, it’s hard to see how Wan-Bissaka will surpass the 22-year-old barring an injury.
The former Porto man once again produced an all-action display which showed both his attacking and defensive qualities.
Dalot’s natural instinct is to maraud forward and be an attacking outlet, something Rangnick wants his full-backs to constantly be, but he has also made defensive improvements.
The man who was on loan at AC Milan last season is becoming an all-round modern day full-back who is equally comfortable defending one-v-one, as he is bombing forward and overlapping his winger.
Against Chris Wilder’s Boro, only Luke Shaw (154) had more touches than Dalot (151), and no player from either side made more key passes than the right-back (5), according to WhoScored.
No United player made more tackles (3) or clearances than the Portuguese. He completed 83% of his passes and won seven duels.
Although Rangnick may be tempted to shuffle his pack for Tuesday’s trip to Burnley, Dalot looked fresh and he was still charging down United’s right after two hours of action.
Diogo Dalot looks in control of the right-back spot and is playing his best football since joining Manchester United.
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