Manchester City defender John Stones insists that the debatable penalty awarded to Nicolas Otamendi against Stoke City was the correct decision.
Pep Guardiola’s side ran out 4-1 winners at the bet365 Stadium on Saturday, with Sergio Aguero and Nolito each scoring twice, though the game was marked by three controversial decisions from referee Mike Dean.
City were awarded a spot-kick on 27 minutes when Ryan Shawcross was penalised for holding the arm of Otamendi, while Stoke were awarded their own penalty just after the break after Raheem Sterling tried to block Shawcross’ run towards a high ball.
The home fans also felt aggrieved that a clumsy challenge from Aleksandar Kolarov on Joe Allen went unpunished late in the first half, allowing City to take a 2-0 lead into half-time.
Stones, however, says Dean was at least right to award the foul against Shawcross that allowed Aguero to give his side the lead.
“I thought we definitely deserved our penalty, it happens quite often with people pulling in the box,” he told Sky Sports. “I didn’t see the one on Raheem so I’ll have to review that.”
1 – Ryan Shawcross is the first PL player to concede and win a penalty in the same game since Theo Walcott in August 2011. Rare.
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) August 20, 2016
Stones was given the man-of-the-match award after a strong display at the heart of City’s defence helped to keep Stoke at bay during some sustained second-half pressure after Bojan Krkic made it 2-1 in the 49th minute.
“I’ve settled in quickly, the boys have helped me do that,” said the England man. “I’ve come here to play games and develop and that’s what they’ve helped me do.
“To get the three points shows what a good team we have with players coming off the bench, scoring goals and working hard for the team.
“I’m trying to perfect my game and he [Guardiola] is showing me the route to go down. The boys are helping me to settle in and keep improving and the gaffer’s putting his style of play out to all of us and we’re trying to implement that.”
Team-mate Pablo Zabaleta was delighted to see his side maintain their 100 per cent start to the Premier League just four days after their 5-0 Champions League play-off win away to Steaua Bucharest.
“We know it’s a tough place to come but I think the whole team was fantastic,” said the full-back. “It wasn’t easy because we played midweek but we showed a great performance and team spirit.
“We were on top of them from the first minute. The first 10 of the second half was hard, they scored a penalty, but then we kept the ball really well and created chances and we deserved the win.
“Every season for us is big. We know we have a great squad, huge talent, players who can improve the squad. The ones who have been here longer need to help them settle.
“We’re a club looking to win trophies every season and we have belief. We’re improving as a team, it’s a new style of play with some different roles for some players throughout the team, but it’s important to keep winning the keep the confidence high.”