John Stones says keeping clean sheets 'a big target' for Man City this season

John Stones celebrates after scoring Manchester City's fourth goal in Rotterdam
Image: John Stones is delighted with Manchester City's defensive solidity

John Stones says keeping clean sheets has been a "big target" for Manchester City this season.

The England defender has been part of a City team which has scored 24 goals in their last six matches, but it is their defensive work which has also caught the eye.

City have kept five clean sheets in their last six games, including last night's 2-0 win over Shakhtar Donetsk in the Champions League.

Pep Guardiola has warned he is expecting his free-scoring Manchester City to further improve
Image: Pep Guardiola's side have kept five clean sheets from their last six matches

Centre-back Stones, who scored two goals himself in the opening Group F win at Feyenoord a fortnight ago, said: "I'm trying to work hard at my game in training, to enjoy my football.

"It always helps when we're winning and scoring goals and keeping clean sheets. From my perspective, and for the back four and the 'keeper, keeping clean sheets has been a big target and we've been defensively solid in the Premier League and Champions League.

"It's about carrying that on now. It's a big thing for me and it's as satisfying as the boys up the top scoring."

Pep Guardiola's men entered last night's match at the Etihad in good form, but struggled to take the game to their visitors in the first half.

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That frustration turned to joy for City when Kevin De Bruyne gave them the lead just after half-time.

Sergio Aguero missed the chance to become the club's joint record scorer after missing a penalty, but City grabbed a late second through Raheem Sterling to seal the victory.

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Pep Guardiola and defender John Stones reflect on City's win against Shakhtar Donetsk

Stones added: "We knew they (Shakhtar) were a good team. We did our research on them and we knew they could play out from the back. They're one of the first teams that have come to the Etihad and played like that.

"I thought our high pressing was brilliant and we stopped them getting out, which is credit to the boys up top. We knew they were a great side and we showed them a lot of respect.

"Maybe it could have been five or six nil, but we'll take a 1-0 or 2-0. A win's a win, however the ball goes in the net, and keeping clean sheets is vital."

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