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Dalot back from injury and ready to stake a claim for right-back berth

 

Fresh start: Diogo Dalot is back from injury
Fresh start: Diogo Dalot is back from injury

By Simon Peach

Diogo Dalot is relishing the challenge of competing with Aaron Wan-Bissaka for a starting berth after the Manchester United right-back returned from injury.

Life after swapping Porto for Old Trafford last year was disrupted by injury and the 20-year-old's start to the 2019-20 campaign has been hampered by a hip issue.

Dalot went to China as part of his rehabilitation and made his first appearance of the season in Thursday's 1-0 against Astana in United's Europa League opener.

"It was our goal to start winning, it's important for us," the Portuguese said.

"I think we did an OK performance with a lot of kids, a lot of energy and it was very good to get my first minutes of the season.

"It was a tough pre-season, very hard. Unfortunately I got injured but now I am back fit and hopefully I can do a lot this season."

Dalot made 23 appearances during his first season at United and faces an arguably tougher battle for minutes this term after the big-money summer acquisition of Wan-Bissaka.

Asked if he is looking forward to the competition and the challenge, he said: "Yeah of course. I wouldn't be here if it wasn't like that.

"I like competition, I like to keep pushing hard and I think I'll be ready."

Meanwhile, Manuel Pellegrini wants his West Ham side to show they can play "exactly the same way" as United when the teams meet tomorrow.

Last season, West Ham ran out 3-1 winners in the fixture, as goals from Felipe Anderson and Marko Arnautovic and an own goal from Victor Lindelof sealed all three points for the Hammers.

United have had a congested fixture list and their clash with West Ham will be their third match in just nine days.

On whether it was a good time to play United given the number of matches they have played, Pellegrini said: "They played yesterday night (on Thursday against Astana) but they changed nine players so it will be absolutely a different team.

"I think we are in a good moment so if we need to play against these big teams now we must demonstrate we are able to play exactly the same way they do.

"We know that we have a very strong team in front of us, now we have a good test against United and we will try to beat them and it's the only way to try to arrive in the first six positions of the table, demonstrating every game that you are able to do it."

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