Although Manchester United have endured another poor campaign, Diogo Dalot says Cristiano Ronaldo has been one positive for the Red Devils.
Cristiano Ronaldo’s presence has been “one of the most positive things” in Manchester United’s disappointing season, according to Diogo Dalot, who is looking forward to working with the “outstanding” Erik ten Hag.
Ronaldo has scored 23 goals and provided three assists in 36 appearances in all competitions since returning to Old Trafford at the start of the season, and has scored eight of the Red Devils past nine Premier League goals.
However, United sit sixth in the Premier League after enduring a frustrating season under both Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Ralf Rangnick, and have gone five years without winning a trophy.
Despite the team’s struggles, Dalot hailed the impact made by his club and Portugal team-mate.
“I’m sure I speak not just for me, but he’s been one of the most positive things about this season,” Dalot told Sky Sports. “To work with somebody who has his culture of working, his professionalism, his mentality and being close to him now… it’s been very helpful for me and my career.
“The numbers are there, the stats are there, so we’re obviously very happy to have him here. He’s a very friendly person. When he feels he has the trust of other people, he gives 100 per cent of himself to you.
“Everybody gets along with him here, everyone likes to have him around. It’s always a big plus to have a player and a person like this in the changing room.”
The Red Devils face Brentford in their final home game of the Premier League season on Monday, with Ronaldo looking to add to a staggering 24 goal contributions (18 goals, six assists) in his past 18 games against newly-promoted sides in the competition.
United are hoping the imminent arrival of Ajax boss Ten Hag will end a turbulent era for the club, and Dalot says the squad are excited by the prospect of adapting to the Dutchman’s possession-based style.
“I don’t think you need to see a lot to know that he is a great manager. What he’s done with Ajax is something outstanding,” Dalot added. “He plays very attractive football, I think every fan of United is excited to have a manager like this, and the players are as well.
“In our heads, it’s going to be clear who the manager will be next season, and that’s good because we go for our break knowing who to expect. Then we will have time in pre-season to work together, get our ideas right and start the new season.”
Despite United’s struggles, Dalot also says he has enjoyed this season on a personal level after making 27 appearances across all competitions, one more than fellow right-back Aaron Wan-Bissaka, who has struggled to adapt to Rangnick’s high-pressing style.
Having received five caps for Portugal to date, Dalot also hoped his increased game time would boost his chances of featuring at the World Cup in Qatar later this year.
“It’s difficult to say it’s been a good season when the results are not quite there as we expected, but individually it’s been good in terms of playing much more,” he added. “Playing regularly has been one of my biggest desires since I came here, and I’ve fought very hard to get it.
“It’s been good, with more minutes than other seasons, so I’m very happy with that. But obviously I want to combine that with team performances, with trophies and that’s the aim for the next seasons.
“I like to see it season by season. This season has been special because I’ve played more regularly here, getting into the first team with the national team and we qualified for the World Cup.
“I want to be there so these are the aims, but we still have three games to play, national team games at the end of the season, so there’s no point looking too much ahead when we have some goals to achieve at the end of the season.”