Pep Guardiola has heaped praise on Manchester City’s centre back duo Ruben Dias and John Stones.
Dias joined Man City this summer from Benfica for a fee that could rise to £61m with add-ons. He put pen-to-paper on a six-year deal in September.
The Portugal international has immediately established himself as a starter under Guardiola.
Premier League winners and losers
Dias made his Premier League debut against Leeds United in October. He has started in every one of Man City’s league games since then. He has also completed 90 minutes in all-but-one of his 15 top-flight outings.
The defender has struck up a great partnership with John Stones. Man City have only conceded two goals in their last nine Premier League games.
Speaking during his latest press conference, as cited by City’s official website, Guardiola lauded Dias for the impact he has made:
“[His impact] has been massive. Not just with John. When playing alongside Aymer [Laporte], Eric [Garcia] or Nathan [Ake], he is a guy who has the ability to live every single action during 95 minutes.
“He is always concentrated, doing what he has to do and helping his mates – holding midfielders, full-backs and central defenders – always be concentrated.
“That is not easy to find in a 23-year-old. We knew the quality on the pitch. We knew the personality he had, but of course we are impressed with the mentality and the physicality to play every three games.
“Always you expect the best, but we are more than delighted with his behaviour and what he provides for the team.”
Guardiola also reserved special praise for the resurgent Stones.
He added: “I have said many times, when a player is playing good consistently, it belongs exclusively to them, not the manager.
“It is a long process. The consistency must be for a long time, not just one or two months.
“John has done well in the last two months, but for a long time he was not regularly playing, and for many reasons.
“He has to be consistent in his life, take care of his body. Not just John, everyone, because the schedule is so demanding.”