Mens Team

Stones: New recruits have helped inspire City shut-outs

Stones: New recruits have helped inspire City shut-outs
John Stones believes City’s superb defensive record so far this term has been inspired, in part, by the instant impact of the Club’s new recruits from last summer’s transfer window.

The central defender has been one of the fulcrums of an iron-clad City defence this term which has, collectively, achieved an incredible 20 clean sheets so far in all competitions.

That remarkable record has been one of the key factors in City’s rise to top spot in the Premier League with Stones earning numerous plaudits for his partnership at the back alongside summer signing Ruben Dias.

For his part, the England defender says City’s mean machine of a back line has been a collective effort across the squad.

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And Stones also credits the impact of Dias and the rest of City’s arrivals last summer, such as Nathan Ake, in helping drive the team’s defensive solidity.

When asked about the clean sheets and what had changed to inspire that record, Stones asserted: “New personnel coming in and making big impacts, not just at the back.

“I think all of the players that have come in have made massive impacts on the team, on and off the pitch. It is down to hard work and obviously a bit of time to gel and click together.

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“Sometimes that does happen, and I think it has. I think the hard work we have put in on the training pitch and making an extra conscious effort to keep these clean sheets, it is almost like scoring a goal for the strikers.

“It has got to be coming from us and keeping clean sheets is the first platform to go and win the game.

“We have been priding ourselves on it whoever has been playing as I am not just saying for me and Ruben, it is all of the lads who have played at centre half; Eric (Garcia), Nathan (Ake) and Aymeric (Laporte).

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“Whoever we have played with, it is credit to everyone.

“Twenty clean sheets in all competitions is something we should be really proud of and hopefully we can keep it going.”

Stones also spoke in glowing terms about his partnership with the Dias and the significant contribution made by the 23-year-old in his first four months at the Club since his move from Benfica at the end of last September.

“It has been an absolute pleasure to play with Ruben,” Stones declared.

WATCH: Guardiola declares Dias one of his best City signings

“I think for someone to come in to such a big club and make such a massive impact as he has is credit to him, his personality, his attributes as a player and he has gelled with everyone so quickly.

“He has been playing so well and that is credit to him.”

The more immediate concern for Stones and City is Wednesday night’s latest Premier League assignment away at Burnley.

City will travel to Turf Moor seeking to make it 13 consecutive wins in all competitions – and nine in the league – as we bid to cement our grip on top spot in the table.

However, Stones says experience has taught him that a match-up against Sean Dyche’s Clarets is always the most testing of examinations.

“We all know the quality of Burnley and I think sometimes it is underestimated, but definitely not from us as a team,” Stones acknowledged.

WATCH: Stones: I absolutely love playing with Ruben!

“We know the qualities that they have and over the years we have had some difficult games against them, both home and away.

“They have picked up some great results in the past few weeks so we go into the game giving them the respect they deserve. We have been doing our homework on them during the past few days in training and seeing how we can work to beat them and their style of play.

“Going to Turf Moor is never easy, and it is a game I am sure we will relish when we play in it. Hopefully, we can get the three points.”

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