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‘Stones has lost trust & Fernandinho isn’t a defender’ – Guardiola needs ‘little tweaks’ at Man City, says Richards

5:59 PM GMT+8 09/03/2020
John Stones Manchester City
The former Blues star admits that issues at the back need to be addressed over the summer, with more funds required in the next transfer window

Pep Guardiola needs to make “little tweaks” to his Manchester City squad in the next transfer window, says Micah Richards, as John Stones has lost the trust of his manager and Fernandinho is not a defender.

Issues at the back have been a regular theme for the reigning Premier League champions in 2019-20.

An air of invincibility which helped to carry them to an historic domestic treble last season has been lost as uncharacteristic leaks have sprung.

The injury-enforced absence of Aymeric Laporte for long periods has done the Blues’ cause few favours.

Guardiola has had to get creative as a result, with Fernandinho pushed back from a holding midfield role while the likes of Stones and Nicolas Otamendi have failed to convince when called upon.

Richards has now added his voice to those calling for a suitable replacement to be found for former captain Vincent Kompany, with City having hit a new low when suffering a 2-0 derby defeat to arch-rivals Manchester United.

The ex-Blues defender told Sky Sports: "If they want to be challenging next season, they've got a few little tweaks to make.

"It's just little tweaks. It's never as bad as you think, and it's never as good as you think.

"I think the centre-back situation needs sorting, because I keep mentioning, in my opinion, Fernandinho isn't a centre-back; he's better in midfield. We miss him in midfield.

"I don't want to keep mentioning Kompany, but I have to - it doesn't look like we replaced him. Laporte's been injured as well.

"Otamendi - they were calling him 'The General' only 18 months ago.

"I don't know if he's got to an age where he can't move as well anymore, but he's not producing the same performances that we were seeing a couple of seasons ago.

"Stones has not played as much games as he would like. Has he lost the manager's trust? Probably. So yep, it needs sorting."

City, who have suffered seven Premier League defeats this season, have slipped 25 points behind leaders Liverpool.

Questions are being asked of their focus in top-flight competition, with Guardiola’s side looking to add Champions League and FA Cup crowns to another Carabao Cup triumph.