Mens Team

Stones: I'm delighted to contribute goals!

OPENER: Stones directs the ball beyond Guaita in the 26th minute.
John Stones has expressed his elation at netting his first two Premier League goals for City, propelling the side to a 4-0 victory over Crystal Palace.

The centre-back opened the scoring after 26 minutes, directing Kevin de Bruyne's sensational cross expertly beyond Vicente Guaita.

Ilkay Gundogan curled in a second just before the hour mark before Stones blasted in his second 11 minutes later after Ruben Dias saw his header saved.

Raheem Sterling rifled in a fourth just before stoppage time from a free-kick and Stones could not contain his delight at helping the team in an attacking sense.

"Two goals for myself so obviously I’m delighted! I put a lot of pressure on myself to score goals," he said. "I need to contribute goals and bring that aspect to my game.

"I’ve been trying hard and the hard work on the training pitch from set-pieces is paying off. I’m glad to contribute.

"I feel very good. It was a tough game. The last two years we’ve not beaten them at home, so it was something we’ve worked on. Another clean sheet and another win to keep the momentum going."

Stones helped De Bruyne take his total assist tally at City to 100 in all competitions by nodding in the first goal of the evening and the Englishman had nothing but praise for the Belgian playmaker.

"Kevin has done it over all the seasons that I’ve been here at the club. He's played some outrageous passes where I think ‘how’s he done it!?’

"It came straight to me - it's something we can only dream of and he can do it when he wants."

The 26-year-old defender has formed a formidable partnership in defence with Dias this season, with the duo only conceding once when starting together and helping City to preserve the best defensive record in the top-flight this season. 

But Stones feels there's still much more to come.

"I’m just trying to keep improving game by game and keeping these clean sheets is massive," he reflected. "It’s a platform for the players to express themselves at the top of the pitch and score the goals.

"[Ruben] Dias has been great, he deserves a lot of credit since he's come in and he's adapted well to the Premier League. It's been great for me to play alongside him, he's so easy to get on with on and off the pitch.

"We take pride in it [clean sheets], it’s what we’re there to do and hopefully, we can keep it going especially because we know how vital they are in big games and games like today. We know it'll help to keep picking up the points.

"We fought hard right till the 90th minute. We kind of take the credit for it at the back but we have to give credit to the whole team, starting from the front and how they press high up the pitch."

Stones has had a turbulent time in recent seasons due to injuries, but he also revealed how he fought through the troubles to revive his City career.

"It’s always tough when you’re not playing and you don’t get a run of games and when you do you don’t perform to the level you can because of putting too much pressure on yourself.

"I said to a lot of people that I went back to the basics. I looked at myself first and what I can improve myself on. To keep fighting and believing in myself is the first and foremost thing that needs to happen.

"I did that and kept working hard, I kept the faith and kept grinding away and still trying to improve. I’m trying to do my best."

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