Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola wants defender John Stones to sustain his form for a constant period – not just for a few games.
The England international’s form has wavered intensely during Guardiola’s time as handler of the Citizens.
At times, he has been a guaranteed presence at the back and a silky operator on the ball. In other periods, he has seemed nervous and error-prone.
With competition from Aymeric Laporte, Ruben Dias and Nathan Ake, Stones can’t trade on his past successes. But, if he performs at the top of his ability, Guardiola says he won’t hold past failures against him either.
“It’s what he wants, what we want [a sustained run of form],” Guardiola told a press conference ahead of City’s Premier League fixture with Fulham on Saturday.
“He was injured last season and could not have continuity. But I want more too – I don’t just want two good games, I want more. He can do it, he did it in the past.
“First step is to have this continuity, train every day and play every three days. We know the quality he has, there are no doubts about that.
“It’s not about the quality. The quality is always there. If not, he would not be here. It’s about how you perform today, right now. Statistics is the past. It’s about how you perform.
“That is the point – everyone has to be ready.”
After Fulham’s visit and a Champions League dead rubber against Marseille, City travel to Old Trafford for the first Manchester Derby of the season.