Ruben Dias explains secret of Man City’s march to Champions League final

The ethos of the collective over the individual has been the key to Manchester City’s historic march to the Champions League final.

That was never more evident than on Tuesday, when a 2-0 win over Paris St Germain, arguably the most complete display of the Pep Guardiola era, swept City into the final for the first time.

Bodies were put on the line, valiant and vital blocks were made, the pressing was of the highest intensity and the quality was there when it mattered, in the shape of the two majestic goals.

United by a common purpose, it was a performance in which every City player took their game to a new level when it mattered, unwilling to let each other down in the pursuit of their aim.

Man City have used team unity as the underpinning of their Champions League march

That unity was typified by City’s outstanding defender Ruben Dias, in a post-match interview, when he was invited to eulogise about the brilliance of Kevin De Bruyne.

Rather than take up the invitation, Dias was keen to point out City’s collective strength and the world-class talent at Pep Guardiola’s disposal, which has taken them to the brink of the ultimate prize.

“It helps having Kevin De Bruyne, Phil Foden, Riyad Mahrez, Fernandinho, Ilkay Gundogan, Bernardo Silva, the four at the back, the keeper,” said Dias.

“It helps having Raheem Sterling on the bench to come on, Gabriel Jesus on the bench to come on, and so many others that didn’t even come on.

“I think that’s our most powerful strength – the quality we have playing and the quality we have on the bench.”

Ruben Dias picks up the man of the match award against PSG
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Throughout their route to the final, City have shown their new-found mental resolve and strength of character, recovering from setbacks that may have beaten them in the past.

They came from behind at Borussia Dortmund in the quarter-final second leg to win, and recovered from going behind to win 2-1 at PSG in the first-leg of their semi-final tie.

It has taken City five years under Guardiola, a two-time winner of the competition as Barcelona coach, to understand what it takes to be successful in the Champions League.

For Dias, a contender for the Player of the Year awards after an outstanding debut season, it is all about the strength of character embodied by the whole of Guardiola’s squad.

“I think you saw the most character, the real character of our team, when we went to Paris,” said Dias.

“We went in at half-time losing 1-0, and we came back out and we put on a show.

“I think that says the most about our team. When the difficult times come, we step up.

“Dortmund was the same, also a tough game, and it’s been like this for us since the beginning of the season.

“When you play in the Premier League, then you know.

“Then you have the FA Cup, the Carabao Cup, the Champions League, and when you play everything to win it, you know how difficult it is.

“So I think that’s the best way for people to see how hard we work and how good we can be.”

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