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blue rock Ruben Dias is Manchester City’s answer to Virgil van Dijk – Pep Guardiola

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Pep Guardiola. Photo: Reuters

Pep Guardiola. Photo: Reuters

Pep Guardiola. Photo: Reuters

Pep Guardiola believes Ruben Dias has become Manchester City’s answer to Virgil van Dijk and says the Portugal defender is so influential he is impossible to leave out.

City face Burnley at Turf Moor tonight hoping to extend their unbeaten run to 20 matches as they target their 13th consecutive win in all competitions.

Guardiola’s side have kept 15 clean sheets during that 19-game unbeaten run, conceding just four goals in the process, and Dias has featured in 18 of those matches, missing only the 3-0 Champions League win over Marseille.

Van Dijk was integral to helping turn Liverpool into Champions League and Premier League winners and the Dutchman’s absence since he ruptured anterior cruciate ligaments in mid-October has been keenly felt at the Anfield club.

And Guardiola feels Dias – who joined from Benfica in September for a club-record £65.2 million – is exerting a similar influence.

“Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. So far, how he’s settled immediately, in terms of mentality,” the City manager said. “He’s a guy who lives 24 hours for his profession.

“Every step he does, at home, on or off the pitch, eating, sleeping, recovering time, preparation time, everything is to be perfect during this 95-minute football game. That’s why.

“He’s not just a player who plays good, he’s a player who makes the other guys play good, too.”

Sergio Aguero has yet to resume full training, despite returning to the club after two periods of self-isolation, and Guardiola believes it may be a few more weeks before City fans see the striker back in action.

Burnley v Manchester City, Live, BT Sport 1, 6.0

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