Ruben Dias: Manchester City peaked at the right time

Portugal defender says treble winners ready to remain unbeaten for another long time

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Ruben Dias has told Manchester City’s rivals to forget about winning any silverware this season as the reigning English and European champions are about to begin their trademark rise to fame.

Despite winning just one game in a six-match period during November and December, City sit third in the Premier League, five points behind leaders Liverpool with one game remaining.

Two wins from two since claiming the Club World Cup in Saudi Arabia has helped them seal a place in the title race and, according to Dias, give the team a renewed focus heading into the second half of the Premier League campaign. Got a chance.
As has so often been the case in the past, City are hitting form at the right time as they look to repeat their historic treble – the FA Cup, Premier League and UEFA Champions League – from last season.

“I think in general we’re starting to feel like ourselves again,” Dias explained. “After what we did last season, we had to come down to earth and realize the little things that allowed us to do what we did before.

“We are fast getting back on track. The moment you relax, a drop comes out of nowhere. There are still a lot of flights left and a lot of work to be done.

“February is when the real things start. Obviously, you have to put yourself in that position to feel that pressure. But eventually that’s when real decisions start to be taken. If you are in a good position in the league and still in every competition in February, the big games come up faster.

I like the feeling of playing under that pressure. If you are going to win something then you will be in an uncomfortable position and will be under pressure on many occasions. Even if you’ve won a lot before, it doesn’t matter because those feelings won’t change.

“If those feelings have changed then you are not as ready to win as you need to be. You should apply pressure as much as possible because it means you are in the right place.

Dias’s claim that the second month of the year is when the City hits the turbo button has a solid basis in data.

In February last year, they beat Arsenal at the Emirates in the second match of a 25-match unbeaten run in all competitions, which ultimately saw them win their third consecutive title on the way to their famous treble.

That unbeaten run began on 12 February and ended with a no-result for Guardiola’s side at Brentford on 28 May, the final day of the Premier League season.

In February 2022, City won five out of six games and scored 18 goals during this period. In February 2021, they won all eight games they played, including successes away from home over Arsenal and Liverpool as part of a huge 28-game unbeaten run.

It’s no surprise that Dias is feeling good about life at the club.

“It was easy to come for football reasons but it was not easy for me to leave Lisbon, which is my only paradise. You obviously have to adapt because you lose what was a normal day. If you’re happy at work, you’re probably happy in life too. I feel really comfortable in Manchester.”

One thing that may be making life and work easier for the 26-year-old Dias, who signed from Benfica for an initial €68 million in 2020, is the presence of Spanish international Rodri in the City team.

Since joining the club from Atletico Madrid in 2019, Rodri has developed into arguably the best holding midfielder in the world and City has proven statistically that he gets better results when he plays.

“In terms of Rodri, there are a lot of beautiful words I could say and they would come very easily,” Dias said. “He’s one of the best in his position. Number sixes are usually either good with the ball and not so good defensively or the other way around; he has both qualities.

“He is one of those players that whenever tough times come, he stands up and stands up. that for you. When times are tough, I know He will be with me. He makes even the difficult things easy. You know he’ll be there when it counts.

“You don’t really know players until you see them when the team is in tough times. Only then good players are made. The same fraud was done to me. You cannot close your eyes even for a moment.

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