Jose Mourinho was full or praise for full-back pair Luke Shaw and Diogo Dalot following Manchester United’s 3-0 win over Young Boys in the Champions League.
Dalot was handed his debut in Switzerland and looked comfortable from the first minute, producing some promising bursts down the right hand side and defending competently.
And Shaw essentially picked up from where he left off against Burnley: defending solidly, attacking with precision, and winning a penalty in the first half.
Speaking after the game, Mourinho labelled Shaw as one of the best full-backs in Europe and insisted Dalot had what it took to be United’s long-term right back.
“I think he did very well, but I prefer to go Diogo and Luke,” he said. “Because I think both fullbacks were very good. Eyes open to the open pass, I think both of them were very good. Luke has been doing that since the beginning of the season.”
“He is one of the best young full-backs in Europe already and he has United for life.”
“But Luke is here for a few years, he is playing since beginning of the season. And for Diogo, first match for the club after knee surgery, I think very good, solid performance, I think everybody could see the potential and everybody could see that he is a 19-year-old player who has more than 10 years to play for Manchester United.”
Perhaps this game marks the historic point where United, for the first time in years, play with two genuine full-backs – players who like to eat up ground and create width.
For too long this club has been saddled with the awkward sight of Ashley Young and Antonio Valencia, a pair of 33-year-olds from the days of Sir Alex Ferguson, occupying two crucial positions in the modern game.
Against Young Boys, however, a tantalising alternative and a glimpse towards the future was laid out. Dalot and Shaw played with desire and execution. Most importantly, though, they played with maturity. Playing away for United in Europe, they did not look out of place in the slightest.
Mourinho clearly believes the pair are good enough to work together on a long-term basis. And they will, no doubt, get more chances to show what they can offer this season.