John Stones’ substitution at half-time in Manchester City’s 2-1 win over Hoffenheim tonight wasn’t tactical as first thought, but injury-related.
With such an extensive injury list to deal with already, it would come as a headache to lose Stones, although City are not short at centre-back with Aymeric Laporte, Nicolas Otamendi and club captain Vincent Kompany all options and Eliaquim Mangala somewhere close to a return and eligible to play in the Premier League.
Guardiola played down the severity of Stones’ injury, describing it as a ‘little problem’, and hopefully that means the England international will not be sidelined for long – if at all.
“He (Stones) has a little problem,” Pep revealed after tonight’s game. “He didn’t feel comfortable in the first half with his knee. It’s not a big issue but he didn’t feel comfortable.”
Meanwhile, the Catalan spoke glowingly about teenager Phil Foden who played the full 90 minutes against Hoffenheim.
Foden sprung to life in the second half after a fairly average first 45 minutes, putting on an impressive show, almost scoring with a volley and creating a number of chances – one of which Raheem Sterling should have taken.
Pep said of his young prodigy: “He’s an outstanding young player, a huge talent. England has a diamond… He played like a man, a real man.
“Phil was incredible the way he played in the second half. It’s not just the quality he has with the ball. He looks skinny, he looks like he’s not strong but he’s really, really strong.”