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Guardiola gives hope to Stones after Man City star makes an impressive return

The England international is fighting for his place after a summer splurge on two new centre-backs threatened his future at the Etihad Stadium

Pep Guardiola says John Stones will get every opportunity at Manchester City if he continues to impress after the defender bounced back to top form.

The City boss brought in new centre-backs Ruben Dias and Nathan Ake at a cost of £102 million ($132m) in the summer to sort out the defensive problems that impacted their last campaign.

With Aymeric Laporte already at the club, Stones appeared to face an uncertain future after falling behind wantaway defender Eric Garcia and midfielder Fernandinho in the pecking order at the end of last season.

But the England international has impressed when starting City’s last two matches against Olympiacos and Burnley, which they won without conceding.

Stones also had problems with injuries last season but Guardiola said the new arrivals do not mean he cannot compete for a regular starting place.

“He played two already,” Guardiola said. “The previous season it was difficult to feel it – sometimes for my decisions but most of the time because of injuries.

“It’s good again because he was so concentrated and didn’t make any mistakes. What we are looking for from the back four is to not make mistakes.”

Asked about Stones’ reaction to extra competition, the City boss added: “It’s not too complicated to understand. I see the performance and the levels, and the guys that help the team and help me have more chance to play.

“The other ones have to wait for the opportunity and they have to fight and wait for their moment and, when they have the moment, do it as well as possible.

“This business it works in this way, not any other way. What happened one week ago or today for example is past. Now you have to do it in the game in Portugal.”

City travel to Portugal on Tuesday to face Porto aiming to secure top spot in their Champions League group having already qualified for the knockout stages.

Kevin De Bruyne and Kyle Walker were left behind for last week’s win over Olympiacos but came straight back into the side that beat Burnley 5-0 on Saturday.

But Guardiola warned his players that they will be in for a surprise if they think being left out means they will be straight back into the team after a break.

“It’s not about rest,” he said. “I saw Kevin a little bit exhausted mentally that’s true. Right now I see the players who are in a better condition or more focused.

“If these players believe they are rested because I am rotating, they are making a big mistake.

“I put in every game the best players for many reasons. Sometimes the health of the team or not being injured, But especially the players who perform well.

“The youngest player that we have, Phil Foden, gets the same treatment and opportunities as Fernandinho, our most experienced player.

“It doesn’t matter if you won more titles in the past or scored a lot of goals, you have to show it on the pitch. In the recent past, in the present and especially in the future.”

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