Guardiola leaps to Stones' defense
Guardiola leaps to Stones' defense
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Guardiola leaps to Stones' defense

Most of the time after a loss, fans and the media pick one or two players to hit with banter and jabs, and after the 2-2 draw at the Etihad vs Crystal Palace, John Stones was the target of such.

However, his manager Pep Guardiola has backed him amid fresh criticism of the Man City defender’s form.

The England center-back endured a difficult game as the champions were held to a 2-2 draw by Crystal Palace in the Premier League on Saturday.

The spotlight has been on Stones this season following the departure of Vincent Kompany and the long-term injury suffered by Aymeric Laporte, and his fortunes have been mixed.

Guardiola said of the criticism: “It’s unfair, yes. We are there (for him), I am there. There are ups and downs in your career so you have to be strong. We know his quality.”

Stones, whose role in both of Palace’s goals was questioned, is a doubt for Tuesday’s trip to Sheffield United with a leg injury.

The Palace result enabled runaway leaders Liverpool to extend their advantage at the top to 16 points.

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