John Stones hails Man City’s ‘rare’ mentality as key to Carabao Cup semi-final victory over United

Defender scored his first club goal in three years as his side beat their rivals at Old Trafford

Simon Peach
Thursday 07 January 2021 13:12 GMT
(Getty Images)

John Stones has hailed Manchester City’s “special” winning mentality as the key to their semi-final victory over rivals Man United in the Carabao Cup on Wednesday night.

Pep Guardiola’s side opened their year with a convincing 3-1 Premier League win at Chelsea on Sunday, then defeated  United at Old Trafford to give themselves a chance of a fourth consecutive Carabao Cup trophy on 25 April.

Stones, who has been rejuvenated in defence for City in recent games, netted his first goal for the club since November 2017 to open the scoring, before Fernandinho added a second to set up a meeting with Jose Mourinho’s Tottenham at Wembley.

READ MORE: Five things we learned as Man City beat United

“It’s a nice start to the year,“ Stones said with a smile. “I’m thrilled to score, especially in a derby. Something you can only dream of until it happens.

“Yeah, absolutely made up. I’m sure my friends and family will be made up at home.

“It’s been a long, long time for me. I wasn’t sure if VAR [would intervene], it kind of threw me off my celebrations a bit, but I’m absolutely thrilled.”

Asked why the Carabao Cup seems to bring the best out of City, Stones said: “I don’t know. I think everyone’s so hungry in the dressing room to win trophies and no matter what game it is, no matter who we’re up against, I think the winning mentality of the lads is something so special.

“Something that is very rare in football, maybe, for a team to be successful for so many years... or challenging for so many years, that might be the right phrase. And it’s something that we pride ourselves on and something that we’ve got to continue doing.”

Stones joined Guardiola in paying tribute to late City legend Colin Bell after a victory built on City’s latest clean sheet.

READ MORE: Man City legend Colin Bell dies, aged 74

The 26-year-old centre-back has flourished since surprisingly being restored to the starting line-up and forming an impressive partnership with summer acquisition Ruben Dias.

“I think we’ve just got to keep building on it, keep trying, working hard,” Stones told CityTV. “We’ve always got things to improve on.

“It’s a pleasure to play with him. How well he’s done coming into the club straight away, playing so many games, playing so well. He got man of the match again today.

“All credit to him – I’ll take a bit of credit for him – but hopefully we can keep moving forward and keep getting clean sheets and doing our job for the team.”


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