Diogo Dalot has admitted that Manchester United players must be ready to “hear things we don’t want to” from the new manager, Erik ten Hag.
The defender started United’s three wins and a draw on the two-week summer tour of Thailand and Australia. Ten Hag was unhappy after his side let slip a 2-0 lead against Aston Villa at half-time in the friendly game in Perth on Saturday, with Calum Chambers’s added-time equaliser coming as David de Gea and the goalkeeper’s defence switched off.
Ten Hag revealed afterwards that he had told the players this loss of focus was “unacceptable” and the Dutchman has previously been blunt with the squad. Dalot believes this is essential if United are going to bounce back from their disastrous campaign last season that ended in sixth place, 35 points behind the champions, Manchester City.
“It is discipline,” the Portugal international said. “We need to be ready for that, to be ready to hear things that maybe we don’t want to hear – everything is for the greater good of the team and that’s the most important thing.
“I feel that we start from scratch: new manager, new stuff, new energy, new players coming in and we’re looking forward to playing with them as well. We need to build a team, a staff, a club, everyone together and go forward.”
The 23-year-old was asked about Ten Hag’s criticism of the team following the draw with Villa. “We should have come into the second half a little bit more lively,” he said.
“Obviously we were winning 2-0 but we need to keep the tempo, keep the ball, we don’t want to concede so many counterattacks that we conceded. But it is something to learn for the future. We are going to analyse the game for sure and take the lessons.
“We need to be proactive, not just the full-back [as he is] – everyone. Read the game, be always on our toes. Mentally we have to be connected all the time and hopefully we can improve a little bit more as well and go to the season.”
Dalot seems to have dislodged Aaron Wan-Bissaka as the manager’s No 1 right-back. “I feel like I’m a Man United player, but obviously work every single day to play,” he said. “I want to be ready for the manager, for the club – every time he needs me I’m going to be there. I need to show my qualities as well. This is why I came here, to show to this club I’m capable of playing many games for it. This is what I want.”
Cristiano Ronaldo is yet to train under Ten Hag because of a family issue, with the striker wanting to leave the club. Dalot, who has not spoken to him while on tour, said: “I think Cristiano is important for us. What we know is he is going through some family issues, we hope everything is ok and that’s how we do.”