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UEFA Championship

Stones praises ‘incredible’ Man City performance over two legs

On Wednesday, John Stones praised Manchester City’s resolve following a testy 0-0 draw that saw them advance past Atletico Madrid to the Champions League semi-finals.

Following City’s 1-0 win in the first leg, it was a characteristically intense atmosphere both on and off the pitch at the Wanda Metropolitano, even boiling over at the end with Felipe’s late red card.

The city was fortunate not to concede in the second half once Atleti coach Diego Simeone brought the likes of Angel Correa and Rodrigo de Paul on from the substitutes bench, with Ederson called into action several times.

England international Stones commended his side’s ability to keep Atleti at bay on the pitch and not get baited into immature responses following duels.

Stones told BT Sport:

“We know that they sometimes try and make things happen like that, and we dealt with it really well.

“It is not nice to talk about, and I don’t want to dwell on it because over the two legs, we played incredibly against such an experienced side in what they do, we kept our tempers, and it is easy to get drawn into stuff like that.

“We knew it was not easy to come, and it is a hostile environment. It was a difficult night, and how we defended

“And controlling ourselves over the two legs was incredible.”

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Even when there was relative parity in the first, there was a sense that Atleti had another gear.

Pep Guardiola opted for Ilkay Gundogan and Kevin De Bruyne with Rodri in midfield.

As the changes came and De Bruyne came off injured, Simeone’s side largely controlled the second half and put up 13 shots to City’s two.

Guardiola praised his side’s resilience, despite admitting they had lost control as the game progressed.

Guardiola told BT Sport:

“They are the champions of Spain, and they played with energy in the second half.

“They were better than us, and we were lucky we didn’t concede.

“In the first half, we had chances, and overall, we are in the semi-finals – it is well deserved.

“The opponent is so tough. All the teams in Champions League come here and suffer, so we must go through.”

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