John Stones says he is proud of his Carabao Cup final performance, despite being at fault for Aston Villa’s goal in the tight 2-1 win earlier this season.
Manchester City had established a two-goal lead at Wembley, but Stones slipped when trying to head away a routine Aston Villa ball forward, allowing Anwar El-Ghazi to advance and send over a fine cross for Mbwana Samatta to head past Ederson.
The mistake was a poor one, but Stones says he showed character to bounce back and put in a solid defensive performance from that moment on to help City win their eighth domestic trophy from the last nine available.
Speaking to Micah Richards on the England national team’s Twitter account about reacting to criticism, Stones said: “Literally everyone is different, so some might take it to heart, it might affect some more than others. I’ve got to try and turn it into a positive and let that negative press or whatever it might be motivate me to come back better and stronger.
“Take for instance the Carabao Cup final. The ball’s gone up in the air and I’m backtracking, but as I’m looking up in the air, all I could see – and you’ll know when you kick the ball up in the air and it’s just blue sky – it’s coming down and you don’t know where it’s going to land. I just got disorientated. The next minute I’m on the floor and thinking ‘oh, no, just get up, get back into it.’
“But it could have gone two ways, I could have crumbled and not done anything and let it affect me. But then I thought my character and performance after that was something I should be proud of. How I reacted and helped the team, especially in the last ten minutes.”
Stones revealed that while the post-match analysis of his performance centred around his role in Villa’s goal, his teammates were more appreciative of his overall contribution to the hard-fought victory.
“You’ve got to come through those situations to know what to do,” he added, explaining that while they were understanding of his mistake, they still used the opportunity to joke about it at Stones’ expense.
“Those things go unrecognised but not to your teammates,” he said. “Everyone saw the mistake, which happens. Everyone was saying I got snipered after!”