Man Utd star thriving under Erik ten Hag reveals just how close he came to Old Trafford exit

Diogo Dalot, Man Utd v Leicester April 2022

Manchester United defender Diogo Dalot has revealed just how close he came to quitting the club, having now secured a regular starting spot under new boss Erik ten Hag.

The Portugal international returned to Old Trafford in the summer of 2021 after a loan stint at Milan, where he made such an impression that the Serie A giants pushed for a permanent transfer.

However, the Red Devils decided to keep hold of Dalot, who made 30 appearances in all competitions last season.

Dalot did still alternate with Aaron Wan-Bissaka for the right-back spot, but that’s all changed this term.

The 23-year-old has started every Premier League outing in the current campaign. While, like his teammates, things did not go to plan in the opening two games, United have won their last four and are on a roll.

But things could have worked out very differently for Dalot.

The full-back, speaking to Italian outlet Milan News, was asked if he had intended to stay in Milan after his loan.

Staying at United the right choice

Dalot said: “Milan are a great club and I loved the season with the Rossoneri. But it wasn’t just up to me… in the end I decided to stay at United and it was the right choice.”

The defender also revealed how playing in Italy improved the defensive side of his game. Indeed, that is something he’s put into practice since being back at Old Trafford.

Dalot added: “In Italy I spent a fantastic year. With Pioli I have grown a lot, especially from the point of view of mentality. If I’m a better defender I owe it to him.

“Italian football is different from the Premier League and I had to adapt in just one year and playing in Serie A has helped me a lot. The playing time in the last two years here in Manchester has grown and consequently so has my self-esteem.”

Dalot set for bench role in European opener

Meanwhile, Dalot could be rested for United‘s Europa League opener against Real Sociedad on Thursday night.

Ten Hag is likely to give Wan-Bissaka a run out against the Spanish side at Old Trafford, with other changes also expected.

Speaking ahead of the game, the Dutchman said: “We have to win every game. [We] want to win every tournament, so we take everything seriously.

“We not only have a team, we have a squad. But we have to win every game and that is the mentality Manchester United needs.

“Maybe I can not keep them all happy every game. But everyone gets the game time if they perform well – quite clear. As I’ve said, we need everyone, we have a lot of games to cover.”

United are back in league action on Sunday when they head to Selhurst Park to take on Crystal Palace.

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