John Stones is back, says Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has praised John Stones for turning around his fortunes at the club.

City looked resolute at the back throughout their 1-0 win at in-form Southampton on Saturday and have recorded one more clean sheet than at this point last season.

Guardiola credited Stones’ contribution in particular, and said: “Excellent. He’s back. He has turned his situation perfectly.

“He played really, really well with Ruben (Dias) as well, all of the back four were so brilliant defensively because it’s not easy. They have a lot of players there and it’s not easy.”

Stones has been inconsistent since joining City from Everton in 2016 and was limited to just 24 appearances last season.

He has featured 10 times so far this season, and Guardiola believes the 26-year-old deserves plenty of praise.

“He has been here more than five seasons and knows exactly what you have to do, what he has to do,” Guardiola added. “Unfortunately he could not do it in the previous years but now he has done it. It was himself, he settled perfectly in what he would like, no injuries, and showed his personality with and without the ball.

“We are delighted, and especially because he’s an incredibly nice person. His mum and dad must be so proud of how nice a person he is and his daughter has a top father.

“He has to continue being in the right position and doing what he has done through this season.”

Raheem Sterling converted a Kevin De Bruyne cross for the only goal of the game, with City claiming a sixth clean sheet of the Premier League season.

Southampton manager Ralph Hasenhuttl praised his side’s organisation and played down their aspirations after the defeat saw them slip out of the top four.

“I don’t know that we have the quality to stay up there that long because over a long time the quality of the individual bodies is also a big part of the game and I think other teams have a lot more options than we have,” the Austrian said.

“But, and I think this is one thing that we can be really proud of, we are one of the better organised teams in this league.

“We show this every week, and with this it is always possible to take some points.”