The Portugal international has had a huge impact on the defense of the Premier League leaders since joining from Benfica
Joleon Lescott says Ruben Dias brought a similar mentality to Manchester City defense as Virgil van Dijk did to Liverpool after arriving.
City have set an incredible defensive record since Dias joined club Benfica in September, winning 20 of their 27 appearances, keeping 16 clean sheets and conceding just nine times.
The Portugal international has also brought a quality of leadership to the Etihad, which has been lacking since former captain Vincent Kompany left the club after his last title success in 2019.
“Dias is the character we were looking for – he had won things,” said Lescott, who was a key defender of City’s first Premier League success in 2012.
“He knows what it means, knows the standards and has a winning mindset. He’s been there before. He brings that experience.
Some of Dias’ stats are actually better than Van Dijk’s following the Dutchman’s move from Southampton.
City have conceded 17 fewer goals, kept four more clean sheets and won three more games than Liverpool after Van Dijk arrived in January 2018.
“The statistics are much better [for Ruben]Said Lescott. “I don’t want to take anything away from Dias but he got into a successful team – Liverpool didn’t.
“Liverpool were hopeful to be contenders. The gap they had to narrow was tough – and that doesn’t minimize what Dias did because he deserves a lot of credit – but it’s hard to say one impact is greater than the other.
“If we hadn’t signed Dias and won the league this season, it wouldn’t be a surprise.”
Lescott was extremely impressed with how Dias instantly integrated himself into the city side with minimal fuss.
The 23-year-old center-back has played almost every minute in the Premier League since his arrival and has forged a strong partnership with John Stones at the heart of the defense.
“The biggest thing for me is its reliability and consistency,” added Lescott. “He’s solid at all levels – course, tackle – but his availability is the most important.
“He’s played 50 games in the last two seasons with Benfica – and has already played 27 for City – it’s a huge thing to have someone who is always fit and available.
“Coming to a new country at his age during the lockout and playing well says a lot. It’s surprising that he’s only 23 – he plays and seems to be a very mature person.
“It comes from a big club. Benfica are not an average club, it’s huge where the demands are very high – as high as City’s. So it comes from a winning mentality. These are things people take for granted.