Diogo Dalot made his debut for loan club AC Milan in an impressive away win over Celtic last night.
Dalot lined up at right-back in a 4-2-3-1 formation at Celtic Park. While some of the occasion was lost without supporters in attendance, this was still a challenging game for the Manchester United loanee to make his debut for his new side.
The return to the UK went pretty well for Dalot, as Milan secured a 3-1 away victory.
Dalot did well, and had an interesting personal duel to try and win. Celtic had AC Milan defender Diego Laxalt on their left side, who is on loan and was eligible to play against them.
In total he managed 96 touches, more than any player on the pitch. Left-back Theo Hernandez came closest to him with 83.
Dalot was able to make five interceptions, more than any AC Milan player.
He attempted three tackles, blocked one shot, and made one clearance upfield.
From an attacking perspective, Dalot could not provide a cutting edge of any sort. He attempted three crosses, one of which found a teammate, but he did not create any goalscoring chances.
He was involved in the build up to Milan’s first goal, bringing the ball out of defence, laying it off to Samu Castillejo, who provided the cross for Rade Krunic to score.
On his debut though, in a tough European away game, it was best not to be too adventurous and risk making an error.
It’s easy to forget Dalot is still just 21 and could have a big future ahead of him. United were sensible just to loan him, rather than sell.
This was Dalot’s first game since playing for United away at Brighton in late September in the Carabao Cup.
Even that Carabao Cup game was Dalot’s first match since June.
It would be wrong to take a negative judgement on Dalot in this game if he had played poorly, given his lack of regular game time.
The fact he played well was encouraging, and it will be interesting to see how Dalot develops with regular game time.
Part of the challenge for Dalot is staying fit. He missed the start of his first two seasons at United due to injuries.
In a week in which United right-back Aaron Wan-Bissaka put in an outstanding performance away at PSG, Dalot will have wanted to make a good impression of his own, and he did so.
If the switch to a 3-4-1-2 at United becomes permanent, Dalot may be more suitable due to his ability going forward.
He didn’t really display it against Celtic, but over the coming weeks and months there should be plenty of opportunity for Dalot to show what he can do.
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