Men's Team

Cancelo a class apart, says Dickov

Cancelo a class apart, says Dickov
Paul Dickov says City defender Joao Cancelo deserves to be bracketed as arguably the game’s most outstanding full-back right now in the wake of his latest superb display during Sunday’s 4-0 win at Newcastle.

After providing the assist for compatriot Ruben Dias’s fifth minute opener, Cancelo then demonstrated his own goal-scoring prowess by rifling home a stunning 20-yard shot to double our first half advantage.

Second half strikes from Riyad Mahrez and Raheem Sterling set the seal on an emphatic victory at St James’ Park and ensured we retained top spot in the Premier League going into Christmas, with City three points clear of Liverpool.

And reflecting on what was our eighth successive Premier League victory, former City striker Dickov – a special guest on Sunday’s edition of Matchday Live - insisted that Cancelo was setting the benchmark for full-backs in terms of his all-round contribution.

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“He’s been outstanding. He’s assisting and scoring goals himself and for me he’s the best full-back, in terms of creating stuff, and how important he is to the team,” Dickov asserted.

“Any player in the world would be proud of that goal. He pops up in all positions on the pitch. He’s in control of the ball the whole time and the finish into the top corner was sensational.

“Nine times out of 10 he tends to start every single game - it shows how much Pep trusts him.

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“The form he’s showing this season in either full-back position, he’s right up there (with the best in the world).

Dickov’s praise for our Portuguese defender was echoed by Joleon Lescott, his fellow special guest on Sunday’s edition of Matchday Live.

And the former England international centre half was also hugely impressed with Cancelo’s composure both in defence and when he ventures further forward.

“Joao emphasises what Pep has done at the club,” Lescott asserted.

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“We’ve got some of the best players in the world in their positions and to not be relying on one player is remarkable.

“I don’t know many strikers who can score a goal like that! He’s the most composed defender I’ve seen. He’s like a midfielder, he’s really comfortable.

“With the ability to finish too, that’s unique.”

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Sunday’s win was another landmark day for Pep Guardiola’s squad with City breaking records for the most wins in a calendar year (34) and top-flight victories away from home (18).

However, according to Dickov, the most significant stat was the fact that City ended a big week having scored 12 goals in three games and conceded none to push our goal difference up to +35 – the same as second-placed Liverpool’s.

“I didn’t think there were any more records left to beat!” Dickov added.

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“The team just keeps getting better and better and more importantly we are scoring more goals.

“This time last week people were talking about goal difference as we were 11 goals behind Liverpool, but we have caught that up in a couple of games.

“It just shows you that this team is going from strength to strength.”

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“We all know how important goal difference is!” Lescott added in a reference to our maiden 2011/12 Premier League which we won by virtue of a superior goal difference.

“The team are just relentless and not to have anyone who has got 20 goals (individually), it’s a just a case of people contributing consistently

“Everyone looks so comfortable in their positions and with what they are being asked to do.”

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