Ruben Dias responds to Pep Guardiola rotating Man City defenders
Manchester|November 30, 2021
The Portugal centre-back was immovable from Pep Guardiola's team last season, playing almost every Premier League game on their way to the title to transform the City defenc e from the moment he arrived from Benfica.
His commanding presence has been recognised by the squad in the form of a place in the leadership group this year, yet Dias has also found himself on the bench far more than his debut campaign as the City manager has used Aymeric Laporte more and also brought John Stones back into the team in recent weeks. In contrast, Joao Cancelo and Kyle Walker have started almost every league game at full-back.
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Dias is not the first player in the group to have to adapt to playing less often than they did - Raheem Sterling, Laporte and Bernardo Silva are among those to have been out of favour over the last year - and the 24-year-old believes that any frustrations about the situation aren't going to help him or the team.
"It's not a matter of being happy or unhappy, I just need to be there for the team when the team needs me," he said.
"It is what it is. In defence, on the sides, in midfield up front - this is our team. This is Pep's idea so we need to be ready for everything and we need to be at our very best. We need to take the good out of everything and if this makes us push even harder individually then we will be just better collectively so we just have to see the good side every time."
When he does play, Dias is still asked to be the more flexible centre-back partner. Guardiola spoke of the need for Laporte's left foot in games such as the West Ham one where the better the buildup from the back is the more chance City have of breaking their opponents down, yet when the Spanish centre-back isn't involved it is Dias that takes on that role.
If the manager accentuates the difference in each centre-back position, Dias downplayed the changes that he has to make for playing with either Laporte or Stones.
"Our team has one idea of playing. That idea is always the same, whoever plays," he said.
"I think that's more a question for a fan to answer. For me, whoever plays it is the team that is playing and you play alongside the team, not with names."