Premier League: Manchester City defender John Stones hails Ruben Dias' impact in his first season at club
Stones has started 15 times with Ruben Dias this season, with City conceding just two goals during these instances, and the England international feels it comes down to the work on the training ground, irrespective of whom he teams up with.
Manchester City defender John Stones is relishing teaming up with Portuguese teammate Ruben Dias at the backline and has hailed him for the impact he has made at the club in his maiden season.
Stones has started 15 times with Ruben Dias this season, with City conceding just two goals during these games, and the England international feels it comes down to the work on the training ground, irrespective of who he teams up with.
“Erm, I think it’s the work on the training pitch. If it’s been me and Ruben, I’ve played with him the most, the other day I played with Aymeric and we got a clean sheet and that’s down to the work we’re doing on the training pitch, working with different partners, if the manager chooses to play with a certain player,” the 26-year-old was quoted saying as on Star Sports Select.
“It’s credit to him, the management staff, how we train, credit to Ruben for coming in in his first season and having such a big impact. It’s difficult to say why it’s clicked and maybe that’s a good thing as to why we can’t put our finger on it and I just hope it continues the way we are playing and if we keep clean sheets I’m sure we’ll be very happy at the end of the season,” he added.
Pep Guardiola’s men were eight points behind top spot before Christmas, but are on a rampage since then, winning 17 consecutive games across all competitions, with their latest win coming against Borussia Monchengladbach in the Champions League last 16 first leg.
In fact, they are yet to taste defeat in 26 games, with their last loss coming against Tottenham in a league game back in November.
When asked what the key to the latest winning streak was, Stones said it was just about the ‘old cliché’ of taking one game at a time.
“I think literally the old cliche of taking one step at a time and one game at a time. We’ve had to have that mentality and step at a time because of different competitions every three days, all those sorts of aspects that we could have got carried away with ourselves, looking at the fixtures, who we were playing in the next couple of days, solely focusing our game plan on the task at hand, the games in front of us has done of the world of good.
“I believe that’s the best way to approach it and I believe we’ll do that until the end of the season and we’ll see where it take us,” the centre-back said.
Guardiola’s men endured a slow start to the season and had won just three out of the first seven League games, but Stones feels the recovery in the second half of the season has been due to teamwork and fightbacks at crucial junctures.
“Yeah thoroughly I think at one point this season we weren’t at a good position in the table, we’ve kept fighting ever since then and turned it around it’s a credit to the team, to everyone that’s played their part and that is absolutely everyone, it’s something to be in the position that we are now is incredible and we’ve got to build on that and keep pushing forward and that’s the mentality around the group,” Stones added.
Manchester City find themselves atop the Premier League table with 59 points from 25 games, 10 more than second-placed rivals Manchester United, and also carry a two-goal advantage into the second leg of the Champions League last 16 at home, which will be played on 17 March.
They play fourth-placed West Ham United at the Etihad Stadium in the Premier League on Saturday.
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