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Diogo Dalot explains failure in tactics and adjustment in Manchester United’s loss to Brighton

Harry Greenwood

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Diogo Dalot explains failure in tactics and adjustment in Manchester United’s loss to Brighton

Manchester United’s Diogo Dalot has spoken on the team’s tactics in their 2-1 defeat to Brighton on Sunday, with the 23-year-old explaining where the players went wrong in their implementation of Erik ten Hag’s instructions.

The defeat on Sunday saw Manchester United start their 2022/23 season in the worst way possible, with the result being accompanied by an ineffective and uninspiring performance.

Reflecting on the performance post-match, defender Diogo Dalot spoke to Sky Sports journalist, Melissa Reddy, where he highlighted where the team went wrong in a tactical aspect.

The Portuguese international spoke first on United’s failure to be effective out of possession, despite pre-season games indicating that this was an area they had greatly improved in under Ten Hag.

Dalot explained, “We want to do high press all day, all game - and as soon as we miss the press, I think that’s where we need to get better.”

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This has a large element of truth, with Manchester United's intention to press high becoming quickly apparent in the game as they targeted Brighton’s back line out of possession. 

The problem came as a combination of ineffectiveness in the press and unorganization once the press had failed.

While the press itself failing does not yet represent a large issue in United’s playstyle due to the season still being in the early stages, the failure from Manchester United to quickly organise themselves back into an effective shape does create cause for concern, with this being a fundamental aspect of a high quality pressing system.

Dalot then went on to discuss the level of cover the United players would offer their teammates who had advanced into more offensive positions. 

“Yeah, we have to cover each other’s backs, not just fullbacks, not just me when I'm high.”

“When the midfielders are high, I need to cover as well. When the centre-backs come out, I need to cover as well.”

“So this is a cooperation between every player on the pitch,” Dalot told Reddy.

Brighton were able to play through United swiftly and effectively once the initial press had been broken due to the reasons noted by Dalot, with the Manchester United players failing to cover for each other in transition, meaning gaps in the defence could be easily exploited.

Diogo Dalot. (Man Utd)
Diogo Dalot. (Man Utd)

While this is a worrying sign due to Erik ten Hag’s fundamental notion of playing fast and offensive football, the improvement arc for United in this sense is likely to be extremely steep, with the side likely to drastically improve as they play more competitive games implementing Ten Hag’s system.

The final and perhaps most significant point touched upon by Dalot revolved around Christian Eriksen and his role in the match, which was adapted later in the game, with this warranting a positive impact.

When asked about Eriksen’s role and whether his move to a deeper position in the second half was beneficial to the team, Dalot answered, “As soon as we saw Eriksen was going to have a lot of time on the ball freely, that’s when everything started to be more dynamic up front.”

“We were doing movements in behind with Cristiano, Jadon and Rashy stretching their defence.”

“Then we got a lot of space for the midfielders, for the fullbacks that were inside and on the wings as well.”

Eriksen’s differing roles on Sunday will have provided a dilemma for Erik ten Hag, as his initial role will clearly be Ten Hag’s vision for the player, whilst the second role proved to be far more effective.

 Erik Ten Hag. (Alamy)
Erik Ten Hag. (Alamy)

Reports of Manchester United being close to a deal for Juventus midfielder Adrien Rabiot could impact Eriksen’s role on the pitch moving forward, as Ten Hag may opt to use Rabiot depper should he come to Old Trafford, meaning Eriksen would reprise the initial role of a more forward player.

Links to former Stoke city forward, Marko Arnautovic, have also emerged.

Dalot’s comments on the tactical aspect of the game were ultimately largely insightful, with a number of questions those covering the club and fans alike would have had following the result on Sunday.

There is little doubt the next week will consist of several high intensity training sessions at Carrington to correct the mistake evident against Brighton, before United take on Brentford in their second Premier League game of the season.

Featured Image Credit: Alamy

Topics: Manchester United, Diogo Dalot, Erik Ten Hag, Brighton And Hove Albion

Harry Greenwood
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