Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola confirmed on Monday that defender John Stones’ injury is “just a kick”. The former Everton player limped out of the field in the 18th minute of The Citizen’s 3-0 win over Hull City.
“He had a huge kick in his knee. Now when you see his knee it is swollen — but it is just a kick, not ligaments or anything.” Guardiola said, as reported by ESPN.
19. John Stones seemed to have tweaked his knee which may have caused the sub, although there is no official confirmation… #hullvcity
— Manchester City (@ManCity) December 26, 2016
The defender’s absence had little impact on City’s performance against Hull. Guardiola’s men were comfortable 3-0 winners with a Yaya Toure penalty and Kelechi Ihenacho’s tap-in. There was also an own goal scored by Curtis Davies, four minutes into added time, as reported by Mirror.
Stones’ first season at Manchester City has been inconsistent. The 22-year-old did put in some excellent performances at the start of the season. However, they have been followed with a string of poor ones, including the one where The Citizens were thumped four at Leicester.
The man from Barnsley, England was subsequently benched in home wins against the likes of Watford and Arsenal. However, he was called again in action on City’s Boxing Day fixture.
Guardiola came out in support of the center-back before the victory against the Tigers. The former Barcelona and Bayern Munich manager claimed that he still has the confidence in the former Everton defender’s abilities.
“If I didn’t have confidence in him, he wouldn’t have played the games he’s played. I know that people think if a player doesn’t play, it’s because the coach doesn’t trust him anymore. That is not the truth.” Guardiola added.
Chelsea will be ‘tough’ to catch for the Premier League title
Guardiola believes that Manchester City will find it difficult to keep up with current Premier League leaders Chelsea until the end of the season. The Blues notched up their 12 consecutive wins after their 3-0 victory over Bournemouth on Boxing Day.
City climbed up to the second spot in the Premier League table after their win against Hull. However, they could move down to third should Liverpool win their fixture against Stoke at Anfield on Tuesday.
“We have played seven more than [Chelsea], which is why it will be tough. Liverpool went so close [to the title] one year because they had one game a week and last year, for Leicester, it happened the same. This time Chelsea and Liverpool are the ones.” Guardiola stated to BBC.
Both Chelsea and Liverpool are without European commitment this season after finishing tenth and eighth respectively in the Premier League last year.
Manchester City will take on French club Monaco in the last 16 of this year’s Champions League. The first leg of the tie will take place on February 21, 2017.
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