Towards the end of the summer transfer window, Milan decided to bring in Diogo Dalot from Man Utd on a dry loan. Able to play on both sides of the defence, he was considered the perfect solution for the Rossoneri.
And with more than half of the season played, Dalot has made eight appearances for his new sides, amassing a total of 406 minutes. He has mostly played on the left-hand side as Milan don’t have a backup for Theo Hernandez.
This evening, however, he will get the chance from start against Spezia as Davide Calabria is suspended. The latter has been in incredible form and this hasn’t made it easier for the Man Utd loanee, who now will have to work hard.
There have been talks about Milan potentially keeping him beyond this season, but the feeling is that this will depend on the upcoming period. In an interview with SportWeek, as cited by MilanNews, Dalot spoke about the adventure.
On Italian football: “On a physical level and in terms of game intensity, Italian football is certainly more demanding than Portuguese, but we who come from that have already shown that we know how to adapt to different contexts. This is what I’m doing here, and for me represents a reason for pride.”
On adapting at Milan: “The fact of having known Leao for years and being his friend is helping me a lot, but I was also lucky to find a group of players and a coaching staff who are as one. This has accelerated my acclimatization.”
On Leao: “We are quite different. He is much more extroverted off the pitch, and even on the pitch, I seem more concentrated. Not that he isn’t, let’s say he is different. Maybe that’s why we are so good friends, because I’m almost a father figure to him.
“I reassure him, I invite him to reflect before doing something, to take it easy. I stay close to him and tell him what is good and what is not good. He does the opposite: he says I have to be looser, that I don’t have to worry too much about everything. We are the opposite of each other, it’s fun.”
On Pioli: “I like his ability to communicate with the players, making everyone feel useful and special, whether he plays every match or takes the field once a month. As a coach, he is doing a fantastic job. Serie A speaks for him.”
If he expected to play more: “When I accepted Milan’s proposal, I had a more important goal than others, to feel the scent of grass again; before that, to return to considering myself a player after all the injuries that had held me back in the last three years. So far I have always been at the coach’s disposal. Then I wanted to show that I deserve to play, through daily work. And I think I have achieved this goal too: up to now, I have played 16 games. It seems very positive to me.”
On the differences with Calabria: “From a full-back, Pioli wants balance: defensive compactness and ability to push. Compared to Calabria, I’m perhaps a bit more offensive. Having different characteristics is a resource: Davide, Theo and I have different qualities and this is a good thing, because it offers the coach the possibility of choice and increases competitiveness in training. In a great club like Milan, competition raises the overall level of the team.”
On the Scudetto dream: “Are we starting to believe it? It’s normal when you get a lot of points and in the locker room, there are players, winners like Zlatan or Bonera and Dida. The important thing is to keep the balance. If we can, I’m convinced that we will fight all the way to the title “.
On the Europa League: “We must respect Red Star, the next opponent. Alone, the Milan crest we wear on our chest does not win the games. Without an audience they lose a lot, but remain dangerous”.