Antony’s dream debut goal set Manchester United on course for victory against Arsenal, with Diogo Dalot saying the deadline-day arrival has already made an impression on team-mates.
fter a lengthy, and at times bumpy, pursuit of the 22-year-old, Erik ten Hag finally got his man as an agreement was struck with his former club Ajax for a deal which could reach 100million euros (£84.8million).
The fee has raised eyebrows but there is no doubting Antony’s potential, which he got the chance to show from the outset against Premier League leaders Arsenal just days after completing his move.
The Brazil international opened the scoring with a cool left-footed strike at a bouncing Old Trafford on Sunday, with Marcus Rashford’s brace sealing a 3-1 win after Bukayo Saka had equalised.
Dalot was delighted to have played his part in United’s fourth straight win and enjoyed his first taste of playing with right winger Antony.
“(Playing with Antony was) very good,” the Portugal right-back said. “He showed that in just two or three days that he could come on and make the difference he made with a beautiful goal, beautiful team goal.
“He is one more player to help, we want to build a very good squad this season and with him we are going have more quality.
“He has the advantage of knowing the way that the manager thinks.
“He’s already adapted to his football side and now he’s adapted to his new team-mates and I think you could see in the minutes that he played that he showed some character, he showed some desire, which I’m sure every fan will love.
“The quality that he has, the mentality that he has, I think he will improve us.”
Dalot says the ability to converse with Antony in their shared mother tongue of Portuguese can make it easier to build a connection.
But the 23-year-old is confident of linking up well with everyone right now given the team’s growing coordination during his best run of individual performances in a United shirt.
“I feel it’s been a good moment, individually, collectively,” Dalot, who joined from Porto in 2018, said.
“When collectively you are good, the individuals come afterward, this is what I’ve been fighting for, to show my level.
“This is the level I want to keep for a long time, there is still room for improvement and this is what I aim for every single day, to improve what I need to improve but keep the consistency, keep the level because these are the standards of this club.”
Put to Dalot that the players appear to be showing more fight, he added: “I think it comes for the messages the manager passes to us but the main point has been from ourselves – to be at this club you have to fight for it.
“You have to fight for 90 minutes every single game and this is what we are trying to do, then the quality will come up.
“But the basics, the standards of the club are like this and if we continue to do this for a big period of time I think we will get success.
“But we know it’s a marathon, not a sprint. This is going to be a long season and we need all the little points, the wins to build momentum and this game was a beautiful afternoon.”
While United celebrated a fourth straight victory, Premier League leaders Arsenal left Old Trafford frustrated as their perfect start to the season came to an end.
Mikel Arteta’s side played well for large periods but left empty-handed, leading Gabriel Jesus – a four-time Premier League winner with Manchester City – to underline the need to kill off opponents.
“The feeling is frustration because we play, we control the game and the first two goals we concede we were better than them, the opponent,” the in-form frontman said. “And then we just concede.
“But now is the time to learn from it and improve. We are doing so well this season but there are still things to improve for everyone, as individuals and as a team.
“Everyone is together and we stick together until the end.
“We came to play against a strong opponent and it’s always hard, it’s the Premier League.
“So we are not happy because, in my opinion, we could win because we play so much better.
“But that’s football, they have quality as well and then if you don’t go there and kill, you are going to have a big problem – and that’s what happened.”