Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has heaped praise of defender John Stones after his performance in the 1-1 draw with Liverpool on Monday morning AEDT.
Stones, who has come under plenty of criticism this season, made a number of important blocks to keep Liverpool at bay as the two sides shared the spoils.
And Guardiola was not afraid to share his love for the former Everton man at the conclusion of the match.
“John Stones has more personality than everybody here in this room,” Guardiola said. “More balls than everybody. I love this kind of player.
“I am delighted to have him. He has been under pressure. The people criticise him. But it is not easy to play central defence with this manager. I don’t want long balls and passes down the channel. I want him 40 metres back to build up the play.
“With all his huge amount of mistakes, I love him.”
Guardiola was forced to get on the front foot in defence of Sergio Aguero who wasted a number of chances, with the former Bayern Munich boss suggesting a pairing with Gabriel Jesus could have served a greater purpose.
“When you play with [Yaya] Toure, [David] Silva and De Bruyne alongside two 19-year-olds [Leroy Sane and Raheem Sterling] and Aguero upfront – they all want to attack,” Guardiola said.
“I can only imagine what it would have been like had Jesus and Aguero had both been on the pitch in the final few minutes.
“I played football for 11 years and scored 11 goals. One goal a year. Can you imagine me giving advice about scoring goals? I leave the box work for the players.”