Mens Team

Stones: It’s a tough one to take

REFLECTION: John Stones says City will keep fighting
John Stones says City are bitterly disappointed to have surrendered three points in Saturday’s 2-2 draw at Newcastle.

The Premier League Champions twice had goals quickly cancelled out, as the Magpies produced a spirited fightback to salvage a point at St James’ Park with a late Jonjo Shelvey thunderbolt.

Kevin De Bruyne had looked to have stolen a victory with eight minutes remaining with a sensational effort off the crossbar, and Stones admitted the squad had thought that was the magic moment.

READ: De Bruyne stunner not enough as City held

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“It’s a big disappointment,” he reflected. “Everything happened so quickly in the last ten minutes – from elation to deflation.

“It’s a difficult one to take, conceding so late, having scored so late. It was one of those games.

“They set out the gameplan quite early – five at the back, 11 men behind. We kept pushing, trying to break them down.

“Teams know how we play and they’ve got to find a way to try and stop us. That’s them showing us respect.

“We have to figure it out, use our flair and how we play. We train every day to break down these systems.

“I thought we did that really well and created some great chances.

“We got our break in the first half and conceded two sloppy goals.

“We switched off in key moments. We played some unbelievable football and took as many shots as we could. It’s frustrating.

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“We could have taken our chances and the game could have been over. All of us needed to chip in and do a part for the team.

“In the individual actions and team actions in the late stages, that’s what cost us the three points.

“We’re really disappointed. It’s a team effort and we’ll look ourselves as a team.

“We’re going to have to reflect and change it round very quickly.”

Despite the defeat, which delivered another blow to City’s title chances, Stones asserted his side will not give up hope of a third consecutive league crown.

“It’s still on,” he stated. “We’re still going to fight until the last day.

“That’s what we’ll do, like we did last season. The spirit has to be there.

“We know we have to keep fighting until the end.

“Everyone’s really deflated but it’s one we need to stay calm about and reflect on – in our own company.

“We’ll take the details on where we can improve and keep fighting.”

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