Soccer

Ruben Dias admits Man City will need more than just experience in new treble bid

City are now one point behind Premier League leaders Liverpool following their derby win over United

Ruben Dias admits treble-chasing Manchester City will need more than experience to get them over the line this season
Ruben Dias Ruben Dias admits treble-chasing Manchester City will need more than experience to get them over the line this season (Martin Rickett/PA)

Ruben Dias admits Manchester City cannot rely on experience alone as they bid to repeat last season’s stunning treble success.

The champions moved back within a point of Premier League leaders Liverpool with a 3-1 derby win over rivals Manchester United at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday.

That sets up a huge showdown with the Merseysiders at Anfield next weekend and they face the other team in the title race, Arsenal, later this month.

While they will also hope to progress in the Champions League and FA Cup, City’s impressive track record over the course and distance could be a significant – but Dias insists there is far more to it than that.

The City defender said: “Every new year it is a new challenge and every new year we must overcome what we’ve done before.

“Even though what’s done is done and it’s beautiful, we know if we want to do it again we’ve got to go strong and deep again.

“We are the same people. We are the same players being treble winners or not, that’s why we became treble winners last season. That’s why we want to win again.”

City dominated the derby but the first half proved a frustrating experience after Marcus Rashford fired United into an unexpected lead with a stunning strike in the eighth minute.

Foden’s double turned the derby around
Phil Foden celebrates scoring against Manchester United Foden’s double turned the derby around (Mike Egerton/PA)

It was not until after the break Pep Guardiola’s side were able to turn the game around with two superb goals from the outstanding Phil Foden while the irrepressible Erling Haaland added a late third.

City manager Guardiola hailed Foden, who has now scored 18 goals this term, as one of the best players in the Premier League after the game and Dias could understand why.

The Portugal international said: “I must agree he’s one of them for sure. He’s always been special, he keeps on being special.

“It’s no surprise for me and for all of us in the team and in the world of football. I’m very happy for him and let’s allow him to continue.

“He’s obviously got a special ability. That’s why he’s Phil Foden and that’s why we all recognise the kind of player he is.”

City are next in action when they host FC Copenhagen in the second leg of their Champions League last-16 tie on Wednesday, a game they go into with a 3-1 aggregate lead.

Dias wants to get that assignment out of the way first before switching his attention to the battle with Liverpool.

He said: “The derby was definitely important. Obviously it was a special one for us, but more than anything else it’s the three points and we move forward.

“Now Champions League, focus on the next one, that’s the most important. Then we’ll focus on next weekend.”