News Live Scores
Manchester City

'It's hard to explain' - Stones frustrated as Man City suffer fresh title setback

01:30 EAT 02/12/2019
John Stones Manchester City 2019-20
The defender remains confident that the Premier League champions can close the gap on runaway leaders Liverpool

John Stones admits it’s difficult to explain Manchester City’s defensive problems after they lost more ground on Liverpool at the top of the Premier League.

City were heading for victory at Newcastle when Kevin De Bruyne smashed in an 82nd minute strike, but Jonjo Shelvey's equaliser six minutes later snatched a 2-2 draw.

The champions had twice taken the lead at St James’ Park, quickly conceding levellers each time, and City have now kept just one clean sheet in their last nine matches.

“To concede the goals we did was very frustrating, especially the late one,” said Stones.

“When Kevin’s strike had gone in, we thought: ‘we have to control the game now and see the game out’. We just didn’t do that and it’s something hard to explain at the minute.

“Everyone in the dressing room is disappointed.

“If we had a magic wand and could put our finger on what it is, it would be great. We have to improve on it quite quickly.”

Liverpool are now 11 points clear of City following their victory over Brighton on Saturday and Jurgen Klopp’s side have dropped just two points all season.

Many City fans have already given up on a third successive Premier League title but Stones and his team-mates are refusing to concede that the race is over.

“We need every City fan to believe in us,” the England defender said. “They are entitled to their own opinion, that’s what football is about, but they want to win it as much as we do.

“There are tough games ahead but the schedule is nothing we can control. We will train for two days before the next game but we have to get back to winning ways and put that pressure on ourselves.

“We fought right until the end at Newcastle. I don’t want to cloud anyone’s opinion about how we played, but I thought it was so good at times.

“It was just a few key moments that cost us the points. I don’t want to put a massive negative on the game, which is easy to do when it was in our hands so late on.

“We just need to switch it around quickly and hopefully can do that on Tuesday night.”

City travel to Burnley on Tuesday ahead of next Saturday’s Manchester derby and Stones says they have to put together a winning streak to put the pressure on Liverpool.

“We can come back, of course. We just have to keep fighting and concentrate on every game - next is Burnley and we have to focus on that and turn it around from what happened,” he added.

“We have always been able to do that quite well, and I believe in everyone in that dressing room. The fight is on until the last day.

“We have to think positive and dream big. We did it from nine points last season and don’t see why it can’t be done again.”