Men's Team

John Stones: Ruben Dias has had a huge impact

John Stones: Ruben Dias has had a huge impact
John Stones says Ruben Dias deserves credit for making such a big impact in his first season at Manchester City.

Dias adapted quickly to life in England following his summer arrival from Benfica and his commanding performances at centre-half have been crucial to a City side which boasts the best defensive record in the country.

Pep Guardiola’s men have kept 17 clean sheets in our last 23 games in all competitions, conceding just six goals in that period.

Stones, whose own form has been equally impressive, has formed an excellent partnership with Dias and, but feels comfortable whoever he plays alongside and  believes clean sheets can pave the way to success at the end of the season.

“I think it is the work we do on the training pitch,” he said.

“The other day I played with Aymeric [Laporte] and we got a clean sheet, that is down to the work we do on the training pitch.

“We are always working with different partners, so we know if the manager chooses to play with a certain player.

“It is credit to the management staff for doing that and how we train. Credit to Ruben who has come in after his first season and had such a big impact.

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“It is difficult to say why it has clicked and maybe it is a good thing that we can’t put our finger on it. I just hope it continues whoever we play with.

“If we can keep getting these clean sheets then I am sure we will be very happy at the end of the season.”

Having recorded 16 consecutive wins, there is plenty for City to be happy about right now and Stones admits he is loving his football.

Victory against Everton on Wednesday evening would extend Guardiola’s side’s lead at the top of the table to 10-points, a scenario which felt a long way off when we found ourselves in 12th position earlier in the campaign.

It has been quite the turnaround and one which Stones believes was made possible by the squad’s collective spirit.

“I am thoroughly enjoying [this campaign],” he added.

“I think at one point this season we were not in a good position in the table, but we have kept fighting ever since then and turned it around.

"It is credit to the team and everyone who has played their part and that is absolutely everyone.

“To be in the position we are in now is incredible and we have got to build on that and keep pushing forward. That is the mentality around the group at the minute.”

As it stands

English Premier League
1 Manchester City Man City 32 23 5 4 67 23 44 74 LWWWL
2 Manchester United Man United 31 18 9 4 61 34 27 63 DWWWW
3 Leicester City Leicester 31 17 5 9 55 37 18 56 DWWLL

Former club Everton will be hoping they can stop Stones in his tracks at Goodison Park on Wednesday.

The Merseyside outfit signed the defender from Barnsley as an 18-year-old in January 2013 and handed him his Premier League debut nine months later.

He went on to make 95 appearances for the Toffees, with his rapid progress enough for him to break into the England set-up before he earned a move to City and it is a period he recalls fondly.

“Everton has played a massive part in my career,” explained the 26-year-old.

“I have got a lot of great memories there, a lot of great people and good friends are still working at the club, not so many that are still playing there though.

“I had a great time there and was very thankful for the opportunity that the club gave me, the managers that were there.

“It was David Moyes at the start and he shortly moved on six months after I signed and then Roberto Martinez came in and gave me my debut and opportunities.

“I have got a lot of respect and time for both those managers, but also everyone in general such as the fans, the players I played with. I have a lot of fond memories.”

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