He has more balls than anybody - Guardiola delighted with Stones display

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The manager was impressed with the resolve the ex-Everton man showed as his side fought back to take a draw at the Etihad Stadium

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola was full of praise for John Stones after a commanding display against Liverpool, focusing on a certain part of the defender's anatomy.

John Stones impressed at the back for City, with a series of vital blocks helping to keep Liverpool's attack out as the two sides tied 1-1 and Guardiola was effusive in his praise for the English centre-back.

"John Stones has more personality than everybody here in this room," Guardiola said. "More balls than everybody. I love this kind of player. 

"I am delighted to have him. He has been under pressure. The people criticise him. But it is not easy to play central defence with this manager. I don't want long balls and passes down the channel. I want him 40 metres back to build up the play.

"With all his huge amount of mistakes, I love him."

The coach defended Sergio Aguero after the Argentina striker missed a series of chances in Sunday's draw.

Aguero was on target, equalising with a close-range finish from Kevin De Bruyne's low right-wing cross to cancel out James Milner's penalty, but he wasted three opportunities to score the winner in the closing minutes at the Etihad Stadium.

City and Liverpool shared the points after a breathless encounter and Guardiola felt the injured Brazilian forward Gabriel Jesus could have made a difference had he been paired with Aguero.

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"When you play with [Yaya] Toure, [David] Silva and De Bruyne alongside two 19-year-olds [Leroy Sane and Raheem Sterling] and Aguero upfront -  they all want to attack," Guardiola told reporters.

"I can only imagine what it would have been like had Jesus and Aguero had both been on the pitch in the final few minutes.

"I played football for 11 years and scored 11 goals. One goal a year. Can you imagine me giving advice about scoring goals? I leave the box work for the players."

Guardiola was delighted with the response of his players after the disappointment of their Champions League last-16 exit following a 3-1 loss at Monaco on Wednesday.

"We lived a tough two days after being out of the Champions League, our mood and what happened in Monaco," Guardiola said. "In the first half we were what we are, and in the second half again and again and again how many chances we missed, it was tough, and playing against a team like Liverpool who were all week preparing for the game.

"How they fight until the last moment, how they put absolutely everything that they had on the pitch. Sometimes you play important games but you are just focused on that and your mood is okay.

"We were sad and that is why I am so, so happy, it's one of the days I am proud the most being coach and being coach of those guys. More than ever I want to help the club, if I am able and if they want to stay with me, to put in the next years to be there with the next step forward."

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