Stones hails gritty City as Guardiola shifts focus to defence


A stellar defensive performance from Manchester City secured a 1-0 victory against Chelsea, as John Stones excelled.

John Stones hailed the defensive shift Manchester City put in against Chelsea to secure a valuable 1-0 victory at Stamford Bridge.

Riyad Mahrez’s 63rd-minute goal moved Pep Guardiola’s side five points clear of leaders Arsenal, with City bouncing back from a disappointing 1-1 draw against Everton on New Year’s Eve.

While there has been plenty of praise for City’s attacking play and Erling Haaland’s devastating form this season, the defending champions have had to come through at the other end.

Stones’ display was integral to Thursday’s performance as he made a number of crucial saves, and the England international revealed that defense was an area he had focused on in recent training sessions.

“It’s a big three points for us. The prevailing feeling from the game after the other day was that we dropped two points and should have had more from the game,” Stones told Sky Sports.

“We wanted to make it right today and especially the way we played in the second half was great. Getting three points is exactly what we needed.

“We rushed the game a lot in the first half, we had too many crucial passes that were missed and we didn’t keep the ball as well as we usually do.

“We spoke at half-time, we knew we had to use the ball better and wait for the spaces to open up. Credit to Chelsea, they played really compact, we couldn’t get too many balls over the lines, we had to play wider and it all came together in the second half .

“There were some big moments, blocks and saves that we worked on in practice and it came out today.

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