Stones ignoring critics ahead of Everton return

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Manchester City centre-back John Stones is not interested in hitting back at his critics as he looks ahead to his Everton return with mixed emotions.

A £47.5million signing from Everton, Stones has endured a tough start to life at City, coming under fire following a number of underwhelming performances.

After largely impressing during the opening weeks of his career at the Etihad Stadium, the 22-year-old ball-playing England international suffered a dip in form under manager Pep Guardiola amid stinging criticism.

Stones, however, admits his performances were not up to scratch as the team struggled for results.

"Definitely, my performances dipped and I made a few silly mistakes that I've tried to correct now," Stones told Sky Sports.

"It's only natural that these things happen, playing so many games. It's new to me, playing three games a week some weeks and I've got to find a way to adapt myself.

"Everyone's disappointed when they don't feel like they play well or they make a mistake. I'm the first one to hold my hand up and try and rectify that in training or the next game."

Stones continued: "As a player you get scrutinised and rightly so, sometimes it's what comes with a move that I've made. I've just got to take that on the chin and concentrate on me.

"I've kind of stopped listening to that side of the game. Everyone finds their little ways of getting past bad moments and everyone has them, it's football. We get the good moments and we get stick. You can start overthinking, it's human, everyone does it.

"[Even with] friends, family, team-mates, I think the less said the better sometimes, just the odd word here and there keeps you on track."

Stones has the chance to prove his worth against former club Everton in the Premier League on Sunday.

He makes the return to Goodison Park for the first time since joining City, having made almost 100 appearances for the Merseyside club.

"There's mixed emotions. I've got a lot of friends there, I played a lot of games for Everton and a lot of my family has got friends there, so it's a big occasion for them, as it is for me," he said.