Pep Guardiola is said to have “stormed to his bench” after John Stones’ mistake allowed Mbwana Samatta to hand Aston Villa a lifeline in the Carabao Cup final.
Manchester City had earned themselves an early 2-0 lead at Wembley, before Stones tripped over his own feet and sent Anwar El-Ghazi free down the left-hand side.
The Egyptian’s cross was then headed home by Samatta, sparking a fightback from Villa which nearly saw them grab an equaliser.
It is not the first time Stones has been at fault this season and Guardiola has certainly appeared unconvinced with the Englishman.
Despite Aymeric Laporte missing the majority of the season through injury and City failing to replace Vincent Kompany, makeshift defender Fernandinho and the equally error-prone Nicolas Otamendi have largely been preferred over Stones.
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Having not featured in City’s last two games, Guardiola opted to hand Stones a start and was left fuming after his error, according to Gary Neville.
“John Stones makes a right mess of this,” Neville said while commentating on the game for Sky Sports.
“I’ve said he’s at a crossroads in his career where he’s got to stop making mistakes but he’s made a big one and it’s let Aston Villa back in this cup final.
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“Pep Guardiola has sat back down, stormed to his bench. The quality is magnificent on the cross and Samatta has had one chance with his head but he doesn’t miss the second.
“Pep Guardiola puffs his cheeks. He can’t believe that his team have let Aston Villa back in this game.”
“We were talking him up before the game but it’s difficult when you’ve been out for that long,” Micah Richards added when analysing the game at half-time.
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“But I can’t make excuses, it’s a simple header and he’s got his feet tangled up.”
“He got himself in a bad position but I feel for him because we see it happen to other defenders and it gets cleared away,” Jamie Redknapp agreed.
“But everything seems to be going wrong when John Stones plays. That is unfortunate and he has to react now.”
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