Dalot suggests conceding 20 shots every game not part of plan despite ‘ridiculous’ Ten Hag claim

Matt Stead
Manchester United defender Diogo Dalot and Bournemouth player Milos Kerkez
Manchester United are not actually meant to concede so many shots

Diogo Dalot has suggested it is not actually part of the plan for Manchester United to concede the most shots of any team across Europe’s top five leagues.

Bournemouth had 20 shots and had to be pegged back twice by Manchester United in a 2-2 draw which left Erik ten Hag’s side seventh and contemplating the club’s worst finish in Premier League history.

Dominic Solanke and Justin Kluivert uncovered the defensive frailties which have already long since been laid bare at Manchester United, who have now conceded the most shots across Europe’s top five leagues this season (568).

Ten Hag previously denied that was a problem, calling the use of such statistics “ridiculous” after the baffling 4-3 defeat to Chelsea.

“We showed we were fourth-ranking goals in conceding and everyone is talking to each other after, we are good and we have good defending as a team and a good goalkeeper. I can do nothing with such stats,” he said then.

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Since that game, Manchester United have drawn with Liverpool and Bournemouth by the same 2-2 scoreline, conceding a combined 48 shots.

Ten Hag justified his apparent tactical approach after the win over Everton in March – the only victory in their last seven Premier League games – by saying “we are defending low-quality chances” after facing 23 shots at home to a side fighting relegation.

That poor run of form includes a 1-1 draw against Brentford, who had 31 shots. Ten Hag said after that game that he was not worried about the trend “as long as we get results”.

“I explained it once more, we defended low at times and because Brentford are very direct we lost many many second balls and we had to defend the box,” he added.

“We had a great goalkeeper, he was brilliant tonight, we have to say that also. Our results are quite consistent from January on but we concede shots, but we don’t concede so many goals.”

They conceded the same amount of goals as Arsenal last season (43), and twice as many as the Gunners this campaign (48 to 24).

As a key part of such a porous defence, Dalot hinted after the damning Bournemouth draw it is not actually part of the plan at all to just let every team have loads of shots.

“It’s been one of our concerns,” Dalot told said about the volume of shots Manchester United have conceded. “Maybe try to be more compact as a team – don’t try to make the gap between defenders and midfield too big.

“Sometimes it is, and they counter on the counter-attack. It’s something we have to improve because it’s been nowhere near good enough for the level of this club.

“We’ve been showing belief through the season, coming back from down moments. Too many this season. We have to control more and have the game under control, we lose it too many times. That’s the aim for the next couple of games.”

Speaking later to MUTV, Dalot added: “We knew it was going to be a really tough game, really physical, a lot of duels, one-vs-one situations and I think we did actually start well with the ball.

“However, we lost control some times building up from the back in situations that we shouldn’t and we gave them a little bit of confidence to score two goals. The big positive from today is that we fought for the result, coming from behind to get a result.

“There are some things that we need to take responsibility for, we cannot hide from it. The standards are always high at this club and we have to be really, really accountable for these types of mistakes that we are making as a team that we cannot if you want to fight for the big trophies and the big competitions.”