Summer signing Ruben Dias has revealed he gets the most pleasure form simply denying opponents shots on goal, amid Manchester City’s vastly improved defensive displays.
While Pep Guardiola has led the club to two Premier League titles since his arrival at the Etihad in 2016, there has always been a feeling that the defence hasn’t been quite up to scratch and was often seen as an area of weakness for opposing teams to perhaps exploit.
The signing of Aymeric Laporte in 2018 appeared to have changed that after the French international made an excellent start to life in Manchester, although his injury record has made him a somewhat unreliable presence for the City boss.
Last summer saw the club bring in two additional centre-back’s, with both Nathan Ake and Ruben Dias joining the club in order to further strengthen Man City‘s already incredibly talented squad.
Although many expected Dias and Laporte to form a partnership at the back, it has been previously outcast John Stones who has lined up alongside the Portugal international in recent months, the two men forging an almost impenetrable defensive unit.
While Stones is rightly gaining a lot of credit for his ‘resurgence’, Dias appears to have instantly stamped his authority on the City defence with a string of rock-solid displays which have transformed Guardiola’s side into an incredibly difficult team to break down.
Man City's record when John Stones and Rúben Dias start together this season:
10 clean sheets
1 goal conceded (!!!)
Rock Solid. 🪨 pic.twitter.com/N88dKu92Lx
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) January 20, 2021
While he may not be the typical Guardiola centre-back, Dias – who’s recorded 15 clean sheets and conceded just 9 goals thus far in his City career – has become a real leader at the back, with the 23-year-old outlining his ‘pleasure’ at preventing opponents from managing to get a shot at goal.
“The other day someone said to me here in the club, ‘Ah, amazing, another clean sheet’,” he told the Mail. “And I just said the thing that gives me most pleasure is not even the clean sheet. It’s the other team not even making one shot on goal. The thing that gives me the most pleasure is that my keeper doesn’t make a save.
“I’m a defender. I’m there to defend. Nowadays the idea is that a defender needs to do much more. My focus has always been on becoming better and doing more but I’ve never forgotten that, first of all, I’m a defender.
“If not me, then who else will take pride from defending? It gives me pleasure to make the other team feel powerless.”