BT Sport pundits Joleon Lescott and Rio Ferdinand believe that the improvements made to Manchester City‘s defence this season has been one of the biggest factors in the side reaching their first ever Champions League final.
While Riyad Mahrez was scoring the goals up front, the City defence were putting in a serious shift at the back. They blocked nine shots throughout, produced 22 clearances, and won seven aerial duels in what was a complete performance from City’s back four.
Ruben Dias was named man of the match in the 2-0 victory, as City recorded an incredible 31st clean sheet of the campaign. Joleon Lescott, talking after the game on BT Sport, believed that any of the back four could’ve been man of the match.
Ruben Dias and John Stones hug each other after Manchester City’s 2-0 victory against PSG
‘The enjoyment they get out of it is great to see, the fact they’re all willing to throw their body on the line – that’s the difference for me,’ said Lescott.
‘They’re all aware of what needs to be done. Any of them could’ve been man of the match.’
Pep Guardiola has spent almost £500million on defenders since he arrived, but Rio Ferdinand believes that investment is finally starting to pay off and they are starting to click.
‘The patience – the patience with which they play, in the past the Otamendis, the others would defend on their own,’ Ferdinand said.
‘The reaction is great, there’s been players in central defence for Pep who played as individuals, they haven’t been a unit – that’s been a big difference since Dias came in.
Kyle Walker has been in immense form for Manchester City recently, and impressed again
Kyle Walker and Oleksander Zinchenko also impressed at full back, and they were even seen celebrating when they prevented the goals from going in.
‘Walker was immense today. Tactically he had it spot on,’ Ferdinand added.
‘He switches off sometimes but this kid is in the form of his life, physically no one can match him in world football – to watch him play out here, the authority he plays with is great to see.’
‘It’s a team game, we all go and celebrate a goal but the main thing is keeping clean sheets,’ Walker said after the game.
‘We’ve done tremendously well in doing that. Blocking a shot is like scoring a goal for me.’
Oleksander Zinchenko and Dias celebrate Manchester City’s first goal against PSG