Diogo Dalot knows securing top-four spot will be ‘really difficult’ for Man Utd
United lost at Arsenal on Saturday.
Diogo Dalot admits it will be difficult to accept Manchester United missing out on a Champions League place but wants to finish the season strongly after defeat at Arsenal all-but extinguished their top-four hopes.
With Erik Ten Hag’s arrival in the summer announced earlier in the week, the Red Devils followed a sorry 4-0 loss at Anfield with a 3-1 reverse against a recently rejuvenated Gunners team.
An enthralling match saw both sides make plenty of mistakes at the back but a first Arsenal goal for Nuno Tavares, a Bukayo Saka penalty and Granit Xhaka’s screamer proved more than enough for the hosts, who had looked shaky after Cristiano Ronaldo’s 100th Premier League goal got the visitors back in the game.
Bruno Fernandes missed a penalty, Dalot twice hit the woodwork and Ronaldo had a goal ruled out for offside as United failed to make their period of superiority pay on an afternoon where Ralf Rangnick dropped United captain Harry Maguire.
We need your consent to load this Social Media content. We use a number of different Social Media outlets to manage extra content that can set cookies on your device and collect data about your activity.
The defeat left United six points off the top four having played more games than any of their rivals for the final Champions League spot.
“It is difficult for us to accept as this club belongs in the Champions League,” Dalot told MUTV.
“All I want to say is that if it is still mathematically possible then I will believe to the end. Obviously it is going to be really difficult and we need to be realistic, everybody can see that in football things can happen until the end.”
While Dalot concedes qualifying for the Champions League is almost out of reach, the Portugal full-back is keen to focus on improving as a team.
“I don’t think it has to be our biggest focus now,” he added on the top-four hopes.
“It has to be our habits that we do every single day, the habits to come to training at Carrington with a good energy and with a mentality that we will give everything for this club because at this club we have everything.
“We have to fight for ourselves, for the club, for our families, for the fans that travel every time.
“We need to mature everyone in terms of the team and we need to be more energetic, to want it more than them and dominate, I think that starts from our efforts every day.”
It is difficult for us to accept as this club belongs in the Champions League
As United’s season continues to unravel, victory for Arsenal continued their rejuvenation following a run of three consecutive defeats.
Mikel Arteta’s side won at Chelsea on Wednesday evening and followed that up with three points against a top-four rival before seeing Tottenham drop points at Brentford.
“We lost three games in a row, lots of people started to speak about us again,” Xhaka said after the win.
“But this week it has helped us a lot, six points against Chelsea and United gives us confidence and gives us a lot of power for the next few games.
“We still have the final five games to go and we have to stay focused and keep going like this.”
The Gunners sit two points clear in fourth place and Xhaka believes Arsenal can enjoy their run-in as they look to end a five-year exile from the Champions League.
“We have Leeds and Everton in our two home games as well as West Ham, Tottenham and Newcastle away – very, very tough games,” he added.
“But if you want to be at the top you have to beat these guys and we are ready to fight against them and hopefully after 38 games we are there where we want to be.”
TRAGIC LOSS | Funeral hears Louth community ‘united in grief’ following tragic road death of farmer (80s)
detained | Barcelona cops arrest ‘drunken’ man after Irish festival goer sexually assaulted
LATEST | Man dies following single vehicle collision in Co Offaly
blaze | Three injured after fire breaks out at chip van at Rory Gallagher festival in Co Donegal
suspicious | Rioters filmed attacking police during security alert in Derry
lethal weapons | Woman and two male members of Birmingham drugs gang caught buying machine gun
REMANDED | Man (26) appears in court charged with murder of Catherine Henry in Dundalk
stealth-fox | NI lawyer ordered by court to pay ex-wife £110k maintenance within a week or face jail
CLOCK TICKING | Dissident chief Carl Reilly ‘settling scores’ ahead of prison term, sources claim
HAND ACTION | Jamie Dornan gives the peace sign on set of The Tourist in Co Wicklow