No Pep Guardiola team has conceded five goals in a game before a 5-2 defeat at home in Leicester on Sunday. And yet these were part of the unfamiliar Manchester City line-up, even though it was a known defensive issue. One without Sergio Aguero due to injury and David Silva in midfield at the end of the summer departure.
The loss of Vincent’s company a year ago put it in sharp focus on Sunday. This is the strength of his 1-0 win that ended Liverpool’s best chance of winning the Premier League title in May 2016. The middle ground of joy was felt that evening and the disaster over the weekend was clear.
Many felt that the company’s losses were too great. He made just 13 Premier League appearances that season, after all. But it was the majority of him who came up with the relentless run-in when his undoubted leadership qualities, the peace he brought to the defense, the organizational skills most needed. In fact, he has won the last 16 games in his competition.
The company had its best past, no longer physically fit to stop a counter-attack, but he is still missed. Much has been made of the importance of Fernandinho’s role, but there is no point in acting with such a vocal presence behind the struggling Roddy. Imeric Laparte, for all his abilities, is not exactly the same male leader. Dias is a different kind of character.
Joao Tralhao was Benfica’s coach for 18 years and spent three years working with Dias – the year before the player was named in Estadio da Luz’s first squad. Dias was his captain when Benfica reached the UEFA Youth League final. Benfica always regrets losing one of their own, but Traha is also thrilled for him.
“The only feeling for him is excitement,” he says Sky Sports. “Leaving Benfica is not easy for him because he has been there for so long. He arrived at such a young age and now he is leaving. But on the other hand, going to a club like Manchester City, playing in the Premier League for one. One of the most important clubs in the world. And he’s overwhelmed for that.
“All the memories I have are positive. He is ideal for every young player, for example, what he does on the pitch, in training sessions and how he lives off the pitch.”
Dias played football in the corridors of his home in Amadora, just north of Lisbon, with his older brother Evan, a professional footballer. He visited her whenever he could, but it soon became clear that his own journey would be a significant one. After switching from center-forward to center-back, he was handed over to Benfica at the age of 11.
“There were indicators of his potential that told you he was going to build a good career,” Trahao explains. “Ever since he came to the academy I knew he was going to do very well. You could see that when he was younger. But when I started working closely with him at U18 level I really knew he was going to the top.
“It wasn’t his talent. It was his ability to work. His focus. The mentality that he had in every session, every day. His ability to compete is amazing.
When Victor Lindelof was sold to Manchester United in September 2017 to play in the first team, Benfica fans quickly looked for him. Dias ended that first season with a place in Portugal’s World Cup squad – the youngest player to take Fernando Santos to Russia in a group full of European champions.
Dias landed the role year after year and took it in his stride. He captained Portugal in the 2015 U-20 World Cup. Legendary Benfica defender Luisa also commented on how he came to be a full-fledged leader. Tralahao also made him captain at the junior level but would have been even more shocked if he hadn’t.
He knows all about leadership. You see City once that he has adapted once. He will lead everything. He will be the voice of the coach.
“He was my captain but he was not just my captain, he was the captain in all the age groups he played in, because his profile is a natural leader. He likes to lead. He knows how to lead. He knows how to be a coach’s voice on the pitch and in the dressing room.
“He knows all about leadership.
“Once you’ve adjusted to City you will see that he will manage everything. I mean he will be the voice of the coach in a good way. A player who can help the team do their job properly.
“He’s not just going to be a screaming leader, he’s going to be pushing the players to say, ‘Come on, come on.’ Besides, he’s going to be the one who’s really leading. Tell them how to do it. Organize according to the coach’s idea. He’s both.” You can. “
Case in town?
Manchester City, of course, needs it. The claim that Guardiola puts on defenders is huge because it puts them at risk of exposure in the high line. It emphasizes communication and organization to help prevent counter-attacks.
Dias is not quick and probably explains why the city looked at other options before settling among the Portuguese. But he’s doubly effective, dribbling past once every 330 minutes in league football last season, comparing himself to Laparte and Eric Garcia, and even better, say, defeating Nicolas Otamendi once every 99 minutes.
At Benfica, he was well accustomed to claiming the role.
“He knows how to play in a team with an aggressive attitude and a willingness to take risks,” Traho explains. Not only in the first team, but also in the case of Benfica.
“That’s how he’s been raised, he’s taken risks, he’s playing one-on-one in the back, he’s playing to stop the counters. He’s used to playing that way. That’s his background so I can’t see him having any problem adjusting to the way he’s playing.
“He’s a complete player in terms of his defensive approach. He can play with defensive lines and high spaces behind him, but if you ask him to play with a lower block, he can do it. He’s good at knowing when to pass the ball. , So he will be able to adapt very quickly to the manager’s ideas even in the case of build-up. “
This alone is giving him a lot of hope in solving City’s defensive problems. However, the beginning of the Dias solution may be to help improve not only its own performance but also the performance around it. They are buying a model professional. They will need more.