Pep Guardiola agrees that Ruben Dias’ impact on Manchester City has been similar to that of Virgil van Dijk at Liverpool.
Guardiola was full of praise for Dias, who arrived from Benfica in September for around £65m, at his press conference on Tuesday.
The City boss says nobody should be surprised by the consistent levels of the centre-back who has helped City into Premier League title contention.
City have the tightest back line in the Premier League. Dias has helped them to keep 12 clean sheets in 18 matches. And in all competitions City have 17 shutouts in the 25 matches in which Dias has started.
“He’s settled immediately. In terms of mentality and he’s a guy who lives 24 hours for his profession,” said Guardiola.
“Every step he does, at home, on or off the pitch – eating, sleeping, recovering time, preparation time – everything is to be perfect during this 95-minute football game.
“That’s why, while it depends on him to maintain and hopefully we can help him to grow, we are more than satisfied.”
Asked whether his impact could be likened to that of Van Dijk’s at Liverpool, Guardiola agreed.
“Yes absolutely,” said Guardiola.
“He’s not just a player who plays good, he’s a player who makes the other guys play good too.
“It’s 90 minutes talking, 90 minutes communicating, 90 minutes saying what they have to do in every single action.”
“When that happens, it’s difficult for me and he makes himself undroppable.”
Dias has formed a reliable partnership with John Stones, who has put himself back in England contention.
The pair’s reliability has seen City march to the top of the table after 12 straight wins across all competitions: “Six weeks ago we were not contenders for anything. Six weeks later we are. Everything can change so quick.
“We could drop points. Only I am concerned about Burnley. That’s all.
“When you start to think about the next game you can drop points. All I am concerned about is Sean Dyche’s team, making a good selection and winning the game.”