Ruben Dias: Manchester City use rivals' hatred as fuel to succeed

Treble-winning defender tells the critics to keep talking as they seek to defend their titles

Manchester City's Ruben Dias, who starred in the 3-1 win at Brentford on Monday night in the Premier League, says there is more to come from the team. Reuters
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Ruben Dias is ready to use the utterings of Manchester City’s doubters and detractors as fuel to launch their bid to repeat last season's historic treble.

The Portugual defender revealed he attempts to shut out all the outside noise but admits that – unlike the vast majority of Premier League attackers – some of it does get through his stout defence.

But far from upsetting him, he says the brickbats, barbs and “hatred” only serve as a reminder of how successful City have been.

Dias, nursing a broken hand, starred in the 3-1 win at Brentford on Monday night which left Pep Guardiola’s side well placed to create history by becoming the first team to win a fourth Premier League title in succession.

“I don't really engage with a lot of the talk that goes around during the season because, in the end, football is football and it’s not about how it starts it’s about how it ends,” said the 26-year-old defender. “I think one way or another you hear a little bit because it’s impossible not to, especially these days.

“People love to talk and the more you win, the more successful you are as a team and an individual, the more people want to take you down. We take it.

“Please make noise around us because it will just make it bigger every time we win again. That’s purely how I take it. There has been noise before and people love the scenario of us not making it.”

Dias and his teammates could hit the Premier League summit, for a few hours at least, this Saturday and are also looking forward to last-16 ties against Luton Town (FA Cup) and Copenhagen (Champions League) as they defend all legs of last season’s treble.

It is exactly where City want to be at this stage of the season, but Dias insists it does come with its own complications.

We are in a very difficult place precisely because we did the treble last season,” he reasoned.

“It makes it difficult to keep those levels up and I am not talking about a treble, I’m talking about winning trophies again.

“After a season like we had it is very easy to relax, it is very easy for you to feel like you’ve accomplished something and obviously we have accomplished something very big and special to all of us, to the club and to the fans.

“But we know that the biggest thing we can do is, when we are on the pitch, be blind to it and just keep on doing what we do.

“We want this club to grow not just for a few seasons but for throughout time and the consistency with which we keep winning is what makes a club as big as it can be.

“There’s nothing in our minds saying ‘we’ve won a treble, we are so good, it’s going to be easy now’. It is exactly the opposite, it's going to be more difficult.

“There is going to be more hatred and more people trying to take us down and there are going to be more opponents. We take it as it is because this is the normal process of winning. We will be ready for it.”

Despite the steady flow of trophies culminating in City being crowned Fifa Club World Cup winners before the turn of the year, Dias warms to the theory that there is still more to come from this iteration of Pep Guardiola’s vision.

If you relax too much, you're not going to win anything else. To win a treble is fantastic and to win all the Premier Leagues we've won and all the things we've won even before I was here is amazing, but if every other year you start to not give so much support and detail you're not going to win anything,” he added.

Brentford 1 Man City 3 – in pictures

“We know what we have to do to win again. We know we have to demand those high standards because when you drop them, things get blurry and it's not so sure that you are able to win again.

“We have won a lot in the last few years and we know how much we have to push ourselves to keep those standards.

“People say it is like we flick a switch at this time of the year but I think it starts in the beginning of the season because you need a base to get into this position.

“We know what we crave at this moment of the season. It is like any other sport, you drive to survive for a little bit and then you know that the next little bit will define everything – that's when the adrenalin comes.

“This is what we are here for, to be alive at this stage and now to do what we do best. In terms of motivation, since I arrived at this club this is the one thing where I most felt the difference from many other teams – teams I've been in and other teams I've heard about.

“When you get to this stage it is very beautiful, but it is only very beautiful with the right people at your side.

“Many people at this time of the year start talking that they're injured or feel a bit of pain, asking 'who are we playing against, the team right below us? It's going to be a tough match, maybe I don't feel too good'.

“In other contexts, that's when people start to feel a bit this or a bit that, but here everyone wants to be involved and play. Everyone wants to go forward and win and eventually that is the one thing that makes that rollercoaster not stop.”

Updated: February 08, 2024, 10:45 AM