Pep Guardiola thinks Ruben Dias has rediscovered his best Manchester City form, crediting his work ethic off-field as much as on it as key to his success.
The Portuguese has been close to the strongest form of his Premier League career since returning from a thigh muscle injury in mid-January.
City have kept a clean sheet in each of his last four appearances, with Dias’ work at the back helping to keep them in the midst of silverware challenges on three fronts.
Guardiola was happy to highlight the impact his centre-back has delivered in recent weeks, and believes it has had a trickle-down effect to his team-mates on and off the pitch.
“He is the type of player that doesn’t just care about he is playing,” he said. “He is playing the game for everyone. He has the ability to see and solve problems.
“His character is so important. When we talk about football, his leadership is huge, even when he doesn’t play. You should see the impact [he has]. His character and leadership is really important.”
PEP [On Kompany] Everybody knows he is an important, incredible figure here. He is one of the biggest legends I have had.
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Guardiola will reunite with a former player, Vincent Kompany, on opposite sides of the dugout when City play against Burnley in the FA Cup this weekend.
Asked whether he sees Dias as a successor to the Belgian in his ability to generate team spirit, the Spaniard concurred, suggesting the pair are both quick to push past errors and ensure they can recover.
“The body language, the gestures, these kinds of things are so important for them,” he said. “Since day one, they have been there.
“[Ruben] is always positive, thinking about the next action, forgetting the mistake. He is always there for the next [play]. He is so positive. His mentality is top.”