John Stones admitted Manchester City were not at their brilliant best against West Ham United – but was delighted to pop up with the winning goal.
John Stones said afterwards: “A lot of credit to West Ham – we knew what they were going to come and do. How they’ve been playing recently and their position in the table, it speaks for itself. I give a lot of credit to them. They gave us a great game today and we had to fight them right up until the last few minutes, and they made it difficult. So we’re really satisfied. I think at half-time we were a bit deflated at conceding late in the first half. We weren’t at our free-flowing football like we’re used to, I suppose, in the recent weeks. But that’s again (due to) how they set up against us. I think we showed great character from half-time and during the second half.”
Stones and Dias have earned plenty of plaudits for their formidable defensive partnership this season – now they are making headlines at the other end of the pitch.
John Stone said: “We try to chip in. Everyone is out there working hard. Some days, it doesn’t come off for the forwards. Today, me and Ruben chipped in and I think that’s part of us being such a good team and such a collective. In big games and important games, everyone chips in or maybe sometimes the person that you don’t expect. Maybe me and Ruben were that today? We’re just glad to get the three points and keep this winning run going.”
On Dias, who joined City from Benfica for £65million last summer,
John Stones added: “I’ve said it numerous times but you can only give credit to him for moving countries to a new club, the way he’s played straight away – not just with me, with Aymie (Aymeric Laporte), whoever’s played, he’s been outstanding. That’s just down to him, and massive credit to him.”
Ruben Dias headed City in front on the half-hour mark, only for Michail Antonio to equalise for fourth-placed West Ham shortly before half-time. However, Stones fired the hosts ahead once more with an accomplished finish in the 68th minute – and that was how it stayed.
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