Ruben Dias has been the shining light for Manchester City as the team has endured a difficult start to the season. The Portuguese swapped Estadio da Luz for the Etihad Stadium last summer in a big money move and has so far justified the huge outlay.
For a team used to shipping goals, the 23-year-old has provided much-needed solidity at the back. That has resulted in six clean sheets in the last 10 Premier League games. Unfortunately, the team has simultaneously struggled at the other side of the pitch.
City’s attack has been uncharacteristically blunt leading to some rather disappointing results. The Blues have dropped 16 points already, just 13 matches into the campaign. That leaves the side occupying eighth place on the log.
There is no better proof of a bad start to the season for City than to see the likes of Leicester, Everton and Southampton occupying higher spots on the league table. A game in hand still does not justify the situation, especially when Liverpool are eight points ahead.
But Dias is looking forward to a change in fortunes as the season progresses. The center-back believes ‘winning is the only option’ at the club and so results will improve. He made this known to Manchester Evening News.
“Obviously, in this club and where I come from, winning is the only option. We know that a point is always a point, and it’s not the worst scenario,” said Dias.
“Sometimes it happens. Along the run, it happens.
“We just want to win and you have to have the stomach to know that when it doesn’t happen, you’ve just got to keep going. Obviously, we were so frustrated, especially after the home game [against West Brom], but it will be a decision of where we want to be at the end, and these one points at the end might be important.
“At the end of it all, we are always going for the three [points] and the ability, after a one or a zero, to go after three again and again. I think that’s the spirit that can make you a champion.”
The Portugal international has been so good at his job Pep Guardiola finds it difficult even to rest him. He has been paired with all of John Stones, Eric Garcia and Aymeric Laporte in the heart of defence. His solid performances have led some to draw comparisons between the young defender and Vincent Kompany.
So far, he has featured in all competitions for City. But he is relishing the challenge presented by the Premier League.
He had this to say about the toughness of the division: “I would consider that being the beauty of the Premier League because you play whoever, and they’re just going to try and win it.
“Obviously, you have different teams, different styles. But in general, every team can win a game. I think that’s the beauty of it. You’re watching a game and you might even not be watching a team from the top five, top ten, and you’re still watching a good game!
“That for me was the thing that I wanted the most; to have that feeling that I was in the right spot here. It’s pure, the purest football that might exist. I’m just really happy to be here.”
Good enough, the team is finally getting back to shape. Sergio Aguero’s return to full fitness is a huge boost. Bernardo Silva is rediscovering his form as well. Phil Foden is growing into an influential player in the team. Riyad Mahrez and Raheem Sterling are scoring, as is Gabriel Jesus. Kevin De Bruyne is injury-free while Rodrigo is partnering the man he came to replace, to protect the back four.
Moving forward, the signs are good. It is likely the former Benfica man will celebrate trophy wins with City in the near future. But he will need to keep up the good work to help the team win them.