Diogo Dalot expresses his belief that the never-say-die attitude of substitute Scott McTominay is precisely what Manchester United requires to secure qualification for the Champions League.
Manager Erik ten Hag faced mounting pressure due to a turbulent start to the season marred by injuries, leading to the team’s elimination from European competitions and struggles domestically.
However, signs of improvement have emerged since the beginning of the year, evident in United’s undefeated streak in 2024, which persisted with a hard-fought late victory over Villa in the Premier League.
After Douglas Luiz leveled the score following Rasmus Hojlund’s opener, substitute McTominay’s powerful header from Dalot’s exceptional cross secured a 2-1 lead for United just four minutes from full time.
“I think every time he comes on the pitch, he has that mentality of trying to score goals and trying to help the team,” United right-back Dalot said.
“We need this type of mentality at this club and I think he is the perfect person to show this season that even coming from the bench, he always has a good impact.”
Dalot urges United to maintain their winning mentality of late
McTominay’s goal marked his seventh in the league this season, with four of them coming off the bench—a tally from substitutions that stands as the highest in the league, a feat only equaled by Brighton striker Joao Pedro.
This bullet header enabled sixth-placed United to narrow the gap to Villa in fifth to five points, while Tottenham sits a point better off in fourth place.
“I think it is a really important win,” Dalot said of the push for Champions League qualification.
“We knew that today was like a final for us; pretty much every game will be for us now if we want to get top four.
“We prepared well and I am very happy with the way we performed and how we fought until the end to get the win.
“It was registered (how important the Villa match was) at the start of the week when we started preparing for the game.
“I think we had a full week of concentration and everybody tuned into what we could expect today.
“It is exactly how we prepared and how we tried to be, but like I said, we fought until the end and we really deserved the three points.”