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Guardiola defends John Stones after 'unfair' criticism of his performance against Crystal Palace

Pep Guardiola has defended John Stones after ‘unfair’ criticism of the defender’s performance during Manchester City’s 2-2 draw with Crystal Palace.

The England international has struggled to find his best form of late and was widely criticised for his display at the Etihad last weekend, with pundits suggesting that the 25-year-old was at fault for both Palace goals as the champions were held to a draw by Roy Hodgson’s side.

Sergio Aguero had thought he had secured the three points for City with two goals in the final ten minutes following Cenk Tosun’s first-half opener for the visitors, only for a 90th-minute Fernandinho own goal to see the spoils shared in Manchester.

As reported by The Athletic, Guardiola was seen gesticulating towards Stones on a number of occasions during the contest, but has now publically come to the defence of the Barnsley-born centre-back following what be believes to be ‘unfair’ criticism of the defender’s performance in the media.

“It was unfair,” Guardiola said at his pre-match press conference. “I’m there, we are there. You have ups and downs in your career. We know his quality”

Stones suffered a leg injury late on in the draw with Palace and is now a doubt for Tuesday night’s trip to Sheffield United, though Aymeric Laporte could be included having returned to training in recent weeks following a long term knee injury that has seen the defender sidelined for five months.

Speaking on Laporte, Guardiola said: “He’s getting better every day, I don’t know [when he’ll be ready], I have an idea but I need to see this afternoon.”

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