Teenager Diallo a bright spot but Man United must be much better if they are get the needed result in Milan


Rob DawsonCorrespondent

Manchester, England… In a week where we have seen Manchester United buy players, it seems they have pulled off a coup with the acquisition of Amad Diallo.

A day after the club appointed John Murtough as director of football affairs and Darren Fletcher as technical director to boost recruitment at Old Trafford, the 18-year-old scored an outrageous goal off the bench in United’s 1-1 draw against Milan in the Europa League.

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It was only his third appearance for Diallo, who came over from Atalanta in January, but the confidence with which he sent the ball over the head of Milan goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma suggests he is comfortable at this level.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has cautiously reassured him, but that may not last long. A start in the Premier League is not far off, especially if Marcus Rashford’s ankle injury does not improve soon. Anthony Martial has also been placed on the injury list after limping here with a hip problem.

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It was frustrating for Diallo to see his big night ruined by Simon Kier’s equaliser in injury time, but Solskjaer had to admit it was deserved. He said we have a long way to go.

Ball possession was 50/50, but we were too slow with ball possession. Sometimes defensively it’s difficult, like [against Manchester City], but we’ve learned that we have to go forward and perform every week because we play against good teams and they are definitely a good team.

Very disappointed to get one of the last shots of the game against, but maybe a draw is a fair result.

Solskjaer didn’t expect Diallo to be needed at half-time, but United were so poor for the first 45 minutes that it’s no surprise the teenager was warmed up at half-time.

Amad Diallo’s brilliant goal showed the capabilities of the 18-year-old, who only came over from Atalanta in January. Photo: OLI SCARFF/AFP via Getty Images

United’s first half was marred by Harry Maguire. First he was hit on the head by a free kick from Alex Telles and a minute later he managed to hit the post from six inches away, when it was easier to convert Telles’ corner near the back line into a goal. Maguire’s look of disbelief testified to the seriousness of the miss, but it could also have been the look on Solski’s face in the dressing room as he tried to explain at half-time how Milan dominated the first half.

Franck Kessie put the ball in the back of the net twice in the first 10 minutes, the first goal disallowed by the linesman’s flag and the VAR’s decision, which he did with the second. United were lucky to be tied at halftime.

Diallo’s magical moment seemed to have won the game for Kier’s header in the second minute of injury time. If United want to win this match, they will need to get going at the San Siro next week. Diallo, who could cost £37m if a number of bonus conditions are met, has already been given the green light to play.

Even with Bruno Fernandez, Mason Greenwood and Martial in the starting eleven, United struggled to create many clear-cut chances and it was Milan who ended the match with more shots on goal, even without their strikers Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Mario Mandzukic. There were few other highlights for Solskjaer, apart from Diallo’s encouraging performance.

He is creative and plays with freedom, Solskjaer said.

It was a great pass from Bruno, that’s what made the goal. Amad still has a lot to learn, but he will be better after the goal.

After a late counter goal, United had to take penalty kicks in Italy to escape. Another moment of inspiration from an unexpected source will be helpful.

It makes it difficult, but we need to score goals and win the game, and that will probably suit us, Solskjaer said.

We’re a better team going forward. Of course, we like our chances. We were exciting and effective in away games, especially against Real Sociedad (in the last round).

It’s a model of how we want to play. We need to score one or two goals, but we like our chances.

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