Pep Guardiola hailed John Stones for showing the character to recover from his first-half cock-up.
Stones lost his footing in the 41st minute, allowing Anwar El Ghazi to cross for Mbwana Samatta to head Villa back into the game.
Guardiola was unable to mask his anger at the goal, but was full of praise for Stones afterwards for recovering his composure and not putting a foot wrong thereafter.
The City boss hugged Stones on the pitch afterwards as the Blues celebrated their latest trophy, with Guardiola impressed with the mental fortitude shown by the 25-year-old.
“That's what I'm most pleased about,” said Guardiola. “Always with the players we speak about how you react.
“It wasn't easy for him, in front of 90,000 fans and everyone watching here in England, butafter that he never made one mistake and made two big clearances at the end.
“He’s a lovely person, always there for us. I know he struggled a bit recently because he didn’t play much, but we need him.
“He was involved many times in winning most of the titles we won, and when you win titles it’s because everyone is involved.”
With Aymeric Laporte out for another month in an injury-ravaged season and Nicolas Otamendi as much of a liability as an asset, Stones should be seizing his chance to shine in central defence.
But the 25-year-old, signed from Everton for £47million in 2016, has regressed since then and has lost his place for club and country in the process.
After three minutes, El Ghazi beat him in the air but headed just over. Then, in the 25th minute, Stones tried to pick out Sterling with a cross-field ball but simply hoofed it out of play.
There was the odd moment of defensive class, just after the half-hour mark,when he anticipated the run of Samatta and executed a perfectly-timed challenge to dispossess him.
But the good work Stones did in the first-half was undone by his gaffe which ultimately yielded Villa's goal and made this much more testing for City than it need have been.
Source: Read Full Article