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Jose Mourinho Praises Diogo Dalot but Says Defender Won't Face Wolves

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistSeptember 21, 2018

TOPSHOT - Manchester United's Portuguese manager Jose Mourinho applauds supporters after the UEFA Champions League group H football match between Young Boys and Manchester United at The Stade de Suisse in Bern on September 19, 2018. (Photo by Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP)        (Photo credit should read FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP/Getty Images)
FABRICE COFFRINI/Getty Images

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has said he is pleased with the development of Diogo Dalot following his debut for the club on Wednesday. 

The teenager started for the first time for the Red Devils in the 3-0 win over Young Boys in the UEFA Champions League, showcasing the ability that prompted the club to spend £19 million to land him from Porto ahead of the campaign.

Per Alex Richards of the Daily Mirror, at his press conference on Friday the United boss was full of praise for the youngster, although said he wouldn't be starting against Wolverhampton Wanderers in the Premier League on Saturday:

"I want him, in this process of adaptation, to play totally fresh, so he's not playing tomorrow. He plays Tuesday again [against Derby County in the League Cup].

"Playing for Manchester United is difficult enough for a kid of 19-years-old, coming from another country and after an important injury and surgery. He doesn't need to face more difficulties. It was a difficult pitch, he recovered totally and on Tuesday he will play again.

"But he showed for the ones that don't know him very well that he is not a player to be here just on formation, is a player to be here [to fight for] positions—he's a very good player."

BERN, SWITZERLAND - SEPTEMBER 19: Diogo Dalot of Manchester United during the Group H match of the UEFA Champions League between BSC Young Boys and Manchester United at Stade de Suisse, Wankdorf on September 19, 2018 in Bern, Switzerland. (Photo by James
James Williamson - AMA/Getty Images

Since his arrival at the club Mourinho has typically used Antonio Valencia in the right-back position, but at 33 the Ecuador international is in the twilight of his career.

Red Devils supporters will hope Dalot can prove to be a natural successor to Valencia, and while he's only turned out once for the team the early signs are positive.

Alex Shaw of ESPN FC commented on how dangerous Dalot's delivery was from wide positions in the win over Young Boys:

Alex Shaw @AlexShawESPN

Diogo Dalot looks a prospect for young kid with little experience. Still don’t know how to process the fact that United appear to have a right back who can cross properly.

Bleacher Report's Rob Blanchette believes youthful players in both full-back slots will potentially give United a different edge in wide positions:

Rob Blanchette @_Rob_B

In my Red News column for @barneyrednews I spoke in depth about what LFC have done with Robertson and Alexander-Arnold. #MUFC could do this with Shaw and Dalot. Give youth a chance, especially in a position that needs high energy.

Against Young Boys the former Porto starlet did turn in a rounded performance. While he was always hungry to raid forward and whip crosses into the penalty area, there was a robustness to his defensive play too.

The fact he won't be involved against Wolves will be a disappointment to some United supporters following his fine debut, although it appears Mourinho doesn't want to rush the prospect into Premier League life.

Elsewhere, Mourinho provided updates on other players' fitness ahead of the game against Wolves, with Phil Jones seemingly ready to feature for the team again:

Samuel Luckhurst @samuelluckhurst

Mourinho says Diogo Dalot is 'not playing tomorrow'. Ander Herrera and Marcos Rojo still out but Phil Jones now 'okay'. #mufc

United will be back at Old Trafford for the first time since they were hammered 3-0 by Tottenham Hotspur. While that loss put the club on the brink of crisis, successive away wins against Burnley, Watford and Young Boys have eased the pressure on the players and manager.

Wolves will not be a straightforward assignment, though, as the newly promoted team have already shown they are well equipped to cope in the top flight. After picking up seven points from their last three games, they'll head to Old Trafford with confidence, a positive approach and no fear.

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