Diogo Dalot has explained the differences between Italian football and the Premier League ahead of AC Milan’s Europa League clash with Manchester United this evening.
Dalot signed for Milan on a season-long loan deal last summer after finding first-team opportunities limited with the Red Devils, with the full-back facing his parent club in the last 16 of the Europa League this week.
The 22-year-old featured in the first meeting between the two sides last week and is in contention to start for Milan once more ahead of the second leg, the tie poised at 1-1 ahead of the return at the San Siro.
Dalot has made 22 appearances in all competitions for the Rossoneri this season and has now discussed the differences between English football and Italy, admitting the Premier League provides greater ‘freedom’ given the tactical emphasis in Serie A.
“In the Premier League, we need to have pace and intensity and you have a little more space and freedom tactically,” he told The Athletic.
“In Italy, we have to think a little bit more, it’s more man-to-man, so the challenges will always be against one opponent. It’s the smell you get for a game, the tactical part of the game. It’s more like a chess match and that’s been amazing to be a part of and understand as well.”
Dalot admits he enjoyed his return to Old Trafford last week after playing 90 minutes in the draw between the two sides, revealing the home of his parent club has its own distinctive ‘smell’.
“The stadium has a smell,” he said. “The grass has a smell.”
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer this week discussed Dalot’s development after a productive spell on loan at Milan, and the full-back insists he retains strong ‘relationships’ with the Red Devils ahead of a decision on his long-term future.
“I left something good there,” Dalot said. “I’m talking about the relationships I have with people. The proof is after seven or eight months we still have the connection and that’s a very good feeling for me.”