John Stones insists that England's comeback victory over Slovakia "will be used as fuel" ahead of their quarter-final meeting with Switzerland on Saturday. 

England came to within a minute of being eliminated from Euro 2024 before Jude Bellingham's overhead kick spared Gareth Southgate's blushes. 

The Three Lions confirmed their place in the last eight through Harry Kane's 65th international goal in extra-time. 

Having come so close to going home, Manchester City defender Stones believes his team-mates can take confidence from the win ahead of their encounter in Dusseldorf.

"We need to keep progressing and playing the fluid football that we are used to," Stones said. 

"I don't want to discredit the other night, I thought we were going home up to 60 minutes into the game.

"To change the mindset and for us all to keep the belief it has a lot of power behind it - for ourselves and other teams.

"Everyone at home knows we are there to do it until the last minute and we should take great confidence from that as it's not easy to do in a high-pressured game.

"We use that as fuel, that extra mile and make it count and we did that."

It has been suggested that England will revert to a back three to accommodate Guehi's absence. 

Ezri Konsa has been tipped to be given the nod to come into the side, with Stones backing the Aston Villa defender to be ready to face Switzerland, should he be selected.

"If he's selected yeah [he is ready], I don't think any of us know the exact team or system yet. Whoever plays in whatever position or partnerships, whatever you want to call it, is fully ready.

"The standards that I've seen in training from every player has been incredible. Whoever steps in is worthy of being there and hopefully we will produce.

"In the World Cup we had a run that we felt we could win and that didn't happen, we have to use the situations and learning curve to our advantage now.

"We've got a good opportunity to get further this weekend.

"I'm a big believer we've been in these positions before and realise were we are, the magnitude of things and what we believe we can do and put it into practice."

Marc Guehi praised the influence of fellow England defender John Stones during his time at Euro 2024, labelling his defensive partner as "a big brother". 

England secured top spot in Group C following their 0-0 draw with Slovenia in Cologne, setting up a meeting with Slovakia this Sunday for a place in the quarter-finals. 

Guehi, who started every group game for Gareth Southgate, seamlessly slotted into England's back four in the absence of recent tournament veteran, Harry Maguire. 

The Crystal Palace defender has performed well in Germany, putting his displays down to the influence of Stones in the Three Lions' camp in Blankenhain. 

"I'd say credit to him. Not only is he a fantastic player, he's a top person, someone that I think everyone in the squad gets along with," said Guehi.

"And he's constant, I'd say, almost like a big brother, putting his arm around you, taking care of you, do you know what I mean?

"But yeah, I'm going off him in a way. He's leading it, he's orchestrating things, and I'm just learning off him every single day, so it is a joy to play with him."

Much was made of England's defensive options heading into the Euros, with Stones' long-term defensive partner Maguire not named in the final 26-man squad. 

With the absence of the Manchester United defender, Southgate's centre-back options ahead of the tournament had made just 36 appearances for their country, with Stones having achieved more caps (75) than Joe Gomez (15), Guehi (11), Lewis Dunk (6) and Ezri Konsa (4) combined. 

"Yeah we get the information quite often to be fair, especially after the games," Guehi said on the pre-tournament talk of England's defence being a weak link. 

"Almost as an incentive, I guess to carry on to make sure that standards remain high, but yeah, like I said, it's definitely a collective, it's not just the back four, for sure it's the entire team that are playing a part in this."

In recent major tournaments, England have been renowned for their defensive stability and have kept two clean sheets at Euro 2024 so far. 

Across the last two European Championship tournaments, England have kept more clean sheets than any other side (seven in 10 games). All seven of those have been achieved with Jordan Pickford in goal. 

The only shot stoppers with more clean sheets at the tournament are Spain’s Iker Casillas (9), Netherlands’ Edwin van der Sar (8) and Italy’s Gianluigi Buffon (8).

"Yeah I'd say I'm not particularly used to Jordan to be honest, I think it's a bit of a shock at first, but actually, when you look back on it, he's fantastic," Guehi said. 

"Constant communication, constantly making sure that you're staying alert and you're awake in the game. Like you say, his clean sheet record speaks for itself. He's honestly a top goalkeeper."

John Stones understands the frustration of England supporters, but firmly believes the Three Lions are on the right track.

England drew 0-0 with Slovenia in Cologne on Tuesday, though with Denmark drawing against Serbia by the same scoreline, Gareth Southgate's team still topped Group C.

That means they avoid a last-16 tie with hosts Germany and find themselves in what appears to be the kinder side of the draw, also evading Portugal, France and Spain.

England had 74% possession and recorded 12 shots, though their expected goals (xG) value of 0.87 shows clear chances were once again at a premium.

Their possession figure is the highest the Three Lions have had in a single match at a major tournament without scoring (since Opta have tracked such data, from 1966 onwards for the World Cup, and 1980 for the Euros).

That being said, England's combined 1.13 xG against through their three matches is the lowest of any team in the tournament, as they continue to impress defensively.

And Stones feels there were clear improvements from the opening two fixtures.

Speaking to ITV Sport, Stones said: "Well, we wanted to win, but the objective was to top the group and we've done that, so I'm extremely pleased.

"It's not always going to be easy, especially not when everyone's got a target on our back to beat us.

"Two clean sheets out of three, a great positive for us to take into the next stage, and there was a lot of improvement from the other two games. We were free-flowing, we found the pockets [of space], created more chances, and I believe it's another step in the right direction.

"I can understand some of the fans' frustration with us not scoring, or not taking chances, that's football."

Stones, who is the only outfield player to have started all 22 matches for England at major tournaments under Southgate, added that the squad will be critical of their own displays, however.

"[We're] very close [to clicking]," he continued.

"We've got to focus on us and what we can control, and be harsh on ourselves about the game, what we could have done better. I do feel we took a step in the right direction. Not the result we wanted but I'm so pleased we top the group.

"We've got to beat whoever is put in front of us. No matter who we play, we've got to believe and step up when it counts."

Captain Harry Kane echoed his team-mate's sentiment.

Kane said: "That was the aim before the start of the tournament. Come top of the group and control our destiny. I thought we played a lot better than the other games. We couldn't just find that finish but we look forward to the next one.

"We created some half chances and there were some that we could maybe have done better.

"These games are tough. We have been here before and stepped it up in the past when we have got to the knockouts. All games in this tournament are tough. It is going to be a difficult challenge ahead and we have enough ability to keep pushing."

England will face either the Netherlands or any of the four teams from Group E in the next round.

Slovenia, meanwhile, will go through as one of the best third-placed sides, with Croatia from Group B officially eliminated as a result of Tuesday's matches.

England have everyone in contention for their Euro 2024 opener against Serbia with Luke Shaw possibly able to appear from the bench, Gareth Southgate has revealed.

The Three Lions begin their fourth – and possibly final – major tournament under Southgate on Sunday, taking on Serbia in their first match in Group C in Gelsenkirchen.

Their preparations have been far from ideal, with Harry Maguire missing the tournament due to a calf injury and fellow centre-back John Stones battling a knock and illness.

Luke Shaw, meanwhile, has not played since February due to a hamstring problem, and was thought unlikely to feature until England's third group game against Slovenia.

However, Southgate has confirmed the Manchester United left-back is in contention to make the bench for Sunday's game, with Stones and the rest of his team-mates fully fit.

"Everyone is available. We have a decision whether Luke is a possible to use from the bench or not but everyone has trained today and is available," Southgate said on Saturday.

England are playing at an 11th edition of the Euros, racking up more games at the tournament (38) than any other team has managed without winning it.

As Southgate looks to end 58 years of hurt at major tournaments, he is breaking the competition down into a series of short-term targets.

"I'm hugely excited," he said. "To lead your country into a major tournament is an amazing honour. I'm very privileged. It's as exciting as it was ahead of Russia, if not more so. 

"In terms of our standing, you've seen Germany and Spain, there are a lot of good teams in this tournament. 

"We firstly have to progress through the group and then there's the opportunity to go further. Our focus is on qualifying from the group.

"When you’re trying to achieve exceptional things, you have to break it down into manageable chunks and the first priority is to get out of the group and work from there."

While many have written Serbia off ahead of the match, head coach Dragan Stojkovic is convinced his side are ready for the challenge of facing a tournament favourite.

"We should have maximum concentration and the quality at the maximum level, and I would not make a difference between the first, second or the third match, each of those matches are of extraordinary importance," Stojkovic told reporters.

"We know that we are starting against one of the favourites playing against England, but we have really done a lot to prepare as best as possible. 

"Trust me, they [the players] can hardly wait for the match to start, because physically and tactically at the same time, I am convinced that we are ready to face the challenges that come with England."

Phil Foden could be the Euro 2024 player of the tournament, according to England and Manchester City team-mate John Stones.

Foden scored 19 league goals and added eight assists this season as he lifted a sixth Premier League title with City at the age of just 24.

His efforts saw him named Premier League and Manchester City player of the year, and he now turns his attention to international football as England head to Germany looking to claim a first major tournament victory since winning the World Cup in 1966.

Stones has full confidence in his national and club team-mate's ability to play a crucial role for the Three Lions in Germany.

When asked if Foden could end up winning player of the tournament honours at the Euros, Stones told reporters: "Yes. I'm biased, [but] I think he's absolutely incredible.

"First how he plays the game, so silky playing like he's in the park.

"I feel like he has brought so much to his game, goals, maturity, knowing of situations, his pressing.

"This season has been incredible for him and I hope and I'm sure he will bring that to the tournament."

Stones believes Foden is "100 per cent" among world-class players such as Kylian Mbappe and Jude Bellingham and feels England's attacking prowess alongside Foden could somewhat take the pressure off him.

"I think it probably suits Phil that maybe that [spotlight] is not all on him," Stones added. "We all know the quality that he's got, what he can bring and does for the team.

"I think in these occasions, it's where it brings it out of you and maybe it's time to show the world what he can really do."

Kieran Trippier echoed his fellow Three Lions defender's sentiments on Foden, saying: "To be honest with you, I can't pick out individuals, because everybody has been quality, but obviously Phil Foden is Phil Foden. He's always one of my favourite players.

"With Phil, I could walk back into the camp and he's got a ball at his feet. He's obsessed with football.

"Everybody sees him on the pitch, but what people don't see in training is his vision, his technique, and his ability is frightening."

John Stones missed England's second training session in Germany through illness four days before the start of their Euro 2024 campaign. 

The Manchester City defender featured in the Three Lions' 1-0 defeat to Iceland last week, but was substituted at half-time after picking up an injury.

However, he was involved in training on Tuesday in Blankenhain. 

Gareth Southgate has had to deal with several absentees and fitness concerns in the build-up to the tournament, with Stones' long-term international defensive partner Harry Maguire having been left out of the squad due to injury. 

"The Three Lions squad is out at training this morning, except John Stones who misses out through illness," England posted to X on Wednesday ahead of their Group C fixture with Serbia on Sunday. 

Of the available central defenders in the 26-man squad, Stones has the most appearances for his nation (72), 19 of which have come during major tournaments. 

The 30-year-old's total is third-highest in the England squad, and is double the amount of times Joe Gomez, Marc Guehi, Lewis Dunk and Ezri Konsa have featured for their country combined (36). 

England are "incredibly strong" and "definitely good enough to go all the way" at Euro 2024, insists former Three Lions goalkeeper Joe Hart.

Gareth Southgate's side, who were runners-up to Italy at the delayed Euro 2020, are among the favourites to go one better and lift the Henri Delaunay trophy in Germany this year, and there is envious quality within their ranks.

Jude Bellingham played a starring role during his debut season with Real Madrid, with Harry Kane following suit at Bayern Munich, while Phil Foden, Kyle Walker and John Stones are fresh from winning a record-breaking fourth successive Premier League title with Manchester City.

Hart, who recently announced his retirement from professional football, represented England at two European Championships in 2012 and 2016, playing alongside the likes of Kane, Walker and Stones at the latter.

The ex-Man City and Celtic stopper briefly featured for the Three Lions during the early stages of Southgate's tenure, which began in September 2016, and he talked up the nation's chances to BBC Sport.

"I know a lot of our players well from my time with the squad," said Hart, whose tally of 75 caps is only bettered by Peter Shilton (125) among England goalkeepers. "They are top-class players who will have a huge say in how we do this time.

"I feel like [Southgate's] confidence has increased a lot since my time with the squad. He's had success at the past two tournaments... and it also seems like everyone loves playing under him, which is so important.

"For everything that is talked about by people outside the squad, it is what happens in the camp that really matters, and Gareth has built an environment where they will feel safe and will be very focused.

"It looks like the manager and players understand each other and what it takes to go the distance, so they will be able to put themselves in the best position to execute all the planning and hard work that they have already put in.

"England are definitely good enough to go all the way in Germany. If you look at all the squads, then along with France, we are incredibly strong.

"But I know what goes into winning a tournament, and it is not quite as simple as just having the best players, so we will have to see how it plays out."

Gareth Southgate confirmed John Stones’ substitution against Iceland on Friday was precautionary after sparking injury concerns.

The Manchester City defender started England’s final warm-up game, partnering Marc Guehi in central defence.

However, he was taken off at half-time following a clash with an Iceland player, who landed awkwardly on Stones’ ankle.

"It was mainly precautionary," said Southgate.

"He took a bit of a knock to the ankle really early in the game, but at half-time, there was no point taking any chance. We're too close to the start of the tournament, there's no point risking it."

This comes after Harry Maguire was cut from the final 26-man squad after failing to recover from a calf issue that has kept him out since April.

Jarrad Branthwaite and Jarell Quansah were the other centre-backs to miss out, though the Liverpool man remained with the squad on standby.

England begin their Euro 2024 campaign against Serbia in Group C on June 16. 

England's Euro 2024 preparations ended on a sour note as Gareth Southgate's side produced a limp display in a surprise 1-0 defeat to Iceland at Wembley Stadium.

The absence of Jude Bellingham aside, Southgate selected a strong starting lineup but saw his side toil in the final third as Jon Thorsteinsson's early effort proved decisive. 

England started slowly as Iceland sat deep, and they were hit on the break 11 minutes in, Thorsteinsson driving a low strike behind the dive of Aaron Ramsdale and in after cutting inside John Stones on the left side of the area. 

The Three Lions missed two glaring chances to level before half-time, with Cole Palmer seeing a volley deflect wide before Harry Kane inexplicably fluffed his lines when picked out by the Chelsea man.

Stones was replaced by Ezri Konsa at the break in what appeared to be a precautionary move after the Manchester City man took a knock. England should have gone 2-0 down just after the hour-mark, but Thorsteinsson slipped when presented with a clear sight of goal.

That was the closest either side came to a goal in the second half, with substitute Ivan Toney missing England's best chance when he hooked Trent Alexander-Arnold's cross over.

Alexander-Arnold sent a cross-shot just wide in stoppage time and England were booed off at full-time, and far better will be required against Serbia next week. 

Data Debrief: Lacklustre warm-up for Three Lions

Prior to Friday's game, England had not lost their final game before any of their last 20 international tournaments (15 wins, five draws), last doing so when they went down 1-0 in Germany ahead of Euro 1968.

On that occasion, England, then world champions, fell at the first hurdle in a four-team tournament, losing out to eventual runners-up Yugoslavia. 

England will be without Bukayo Saka, John Stones and Harry Maguire for Monday's friendly against Bosnia and Herzegovina, manager Gareth Southgate confirmed on Sunday.

Saka will be rested after missing Arsenal's last Premier League game of the season, while Stones is still finding fitness after his club campaign with title-winning Manchester City.

In more concerning news for the Three Lions, Manchester United pair Maguire and Luke Shaw are potential longer-term absentees ahead of Euro 2024, which starts on June 14 in Germany.

"All are progressing well," Southgate said at his pre-match press conference. "We are pleased with the progress they've made, none of them will be involved tomorrow.

"Same tomorrow for Bukayo Saka and for John Stones. Everybody else will be involved.

"John has reported a bit later so hasn't worked with us, he will follow an individual programme. Bukayo is fine, he will be rested tomorrow and should be available by Friday."

Anthony Gordon is another doubt after posting for England duty following an impressive season with Newcastle United.

"Gordon has a chance to be available for Friday," Southgate added. "The other two [Maguire and Shaw] are more unlikely, let's see how far they can go."

Though there are injury concerns, Southgate will likely head to the upcoming European Championship with a similar defence as to what helped England to the World Cup semi-finals in 2018.

The Three Lions boss says that proves the quality of his defence, which boasts the likes of Maguire, Stones, Kyle Walker, Kieran Trippier and goalkeeper Jordan Pickford.

"It's testimony to their consistency," he continued. "They've all been playing at top clubs throughout that time. They have delivered in the biggest matches under intense pressure.

"There is a bond in that group from experiencing the big nights together. Coming through those challenges, we have some good young defenders coming through now.

"What they are brilliant at is making the players feel welcome. They have allowed to settle in as any of those players could be in the team over the next five or six weeks."

Trippier is expected to captain the side in the absence of Harry Kane, who is not likely to start but should be fit from the bench after his back injury sustained when playing for Bayern Munich.

"It's going to be very special," the Newcastle defender said of captaining his country. "I have to thank Gareth for giving me that trust.

"But if I have the armband or not, or if I play or not, I will always be there for the team. To lead the lads out will be special. My son will be mascot as well."

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola believes it is only a matter of time before England get over the line at a major international tournament and gives them every chance of triumphing at Euro 2024.

England are among the favourites to win this summer's Euros in Germany along with the host nation, France, Spain and Portugal.

The Three Lions were runners-up at Euro 2020 after losing in heart-breaking fashion on penalties to Italy in the final at Wembley.

They have also come close in the last two World Cup tournaments, making the semi-finals in 2018 and the last eight in 2022.

Guardiola, who has England stars like Phil Foden, John Stones, Kyle Walker and Jack Grealish in his Man City squad, drew comparisons his side knocking on the door in the Champions League for many years before their eventual continental success in 2023.

He would also have closely watched many of his former Barcelona players play a key role in the Spain team at Euro 2008, which would prove to be the first of three straight major tournament successes after many years of near misses for La Roja before that.

With Harry Kane and Jude Bellingham among England's options for the tournament, Guardiola likes what he sees.

"The national team? Really good. But it's not just the talent of the strikers, it's the whole package, the whole group. Gareth [Southgate] knows perfectly what he has to do," Guardiola told reporters.

"I have the feeling, everyone has the feeling, that the England national team, in the last events, the World Cup and European Championships, they made steps.

"They are on the verge, they are really close. They lost a final and got to a semi-final.

"When you arrive at these stages every two years, it's going to happen.

"It's quite similar to us – we were close and, in the end, we lifted it. Just believe it. If they believe it they can do it, believe it and they can do it."

The Euros begin on June 14 and England will be expected to top a group that also contains Slovenia, Denmark and Serbia.

Pep Guardiola has hit out at the scheduling of the March international break and his side’s FA Cup semi-final, but is resigned to fighting a losing battle.

Kyle Walker and John Stones picked up injuries on England duty which have ruled them out of Sunday’s vital clash with title rivals Arsenal and potentially further Premier League games against Aston Villa and Crystal Palace.

The first leg of their Champions League quarter-final with Real Madrid will be City’s fourth game in 10 days and Guardiola is also exasperated at being forced to play an FA Cup semi-final against Chelsea just three days after the second leg at the Etihad Stadium.

Asked if the timing of the March international break needed rethinking, Guardiola said: “Sure, but they will not rethink. UEFA has its own business, the broadcasters have their own business.

“We play Wednesday against Madrid second leg here…Coventry, Manchester United, Chelsea, they are on holidays one week. Why are we playing Saturday? Why don’t they give us one more day?

“Coventry don’t play Champions League, Chelsea don’t play Champions League or Europa League, United don’t do it. The broadcasters pay a lot of money so we play Saturday.

“We will go to London to play Chelsea, Chelsea will not come here. We will travel five hours. We play quarter-finals [of the Champions League] many times the last years, Wednesday second leg and every time play Saturday. All the time.

“We’re lucky we’re playing at home [this time] but we’ve played in Dortmund, arrive Thursday afternoon here, on Friday take a train or plane to London and play Saturday against Liverpool or Chelsea and all the incredible teams. We are exhausted.

“We play Aston Villa at 8.15 [on Wednesday], we play 12.30 on Saturday [at Crystal Palace] and go to Madrid on Tuesday. Madrid have nine days to prepare for the game. They play this weekend and not again until our game.

“You ask me about the calendar, I give my opinion. Forget about it [changes happening]. UEFA and FIFA have their own business. Broadcasters have their own business but I have mine and I defend my club.

“My club is really tough; [playing every] three days, three days, three days. The other clubs don’t have that situation. The calendar has always been like that with us, we have less days to recover and we did it.”

Guardiola also noted that Paris St Germain do not have a Ligue 1 game between the two legs of their Champions League quarter-final with Barcelona and was asked why other countries appear to provide such assistance for their clubs.

“I don’t know and I’m not even going to ask because they will have their own business,” he added.

“I would like to know the answer why [we play] all the time on Saturday and not Sunday because one day is a lot of difference at this stage with the injured players, the accumulation of games and games.

“It’s fortunate because we are in contention [in many competitions] but when I see Saturday I say why? I would love to know it but I don’t. All the time it’s the same and it’s not going to change.”

City are seeking an unprecedented fourth straight Premier League title and Guardiola admits Sunday’s game is vital as his side trail Arsenal and Liverpool by a single point with 10 games remaining.

“To win the Premier League you have to win almost all games I would say,” Guardiola said. “I don’t think Arsenal and Liverpool are going to drop much points.

“The experience Liverpool have in this situation, the quality of Arsenal winning I don’t know how many games in a row, scoring lots of goals…. That’s why tomorrow is the final, absolutely. We play a final.”

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has confirmed that key defensive duo Kyle Walker and John Stones will miss Sunday’s title showdown with Arsenal.

Walker suffered a hamstring injury in the early stages of England’s friendly with Brazil last weekend, while Stones completed that game but then picked up an adductor problem 10 minutes into the draw with Belgium.

Goalkeeper Ederson could return to the side for the first time since suffering a thigh injury when conceding a penalty against Liverpool and Manuel Akanji has recovered from a knock on international duty with Switzerland, while Guardiola will make a late decision on the fitness of Kevin de Bruyne.

“Ederson is much better but Kyle and John are out,” Guardiola said. “It is what it is.

“For Kyle it will be more tougher than John (in terms of recovery), but I don’t know for how many games he will be out.”

Asked if he was surprised that Stones had started both England friendlies, Guardiola would only say: “I don’t have any comments on that.”

Sunday’s game is the last of the season between any of the top three, with Arsenal top of the table on goal difference from Liverpool and reigning champions City a point behind.

Guardiola’s side remain in contention for a repeat of last season’s treble, with Real Madrid their opponents in the quarter-finals of the Champions League and an FA Cup semi-final against Chelsea also to look forward to.

“It’s good to be here and in contention for three titles after what happened last season,” Guardiola added. “We made incredible work.

“Right now every game is so important. If we are able to do it (against Arsenal), the next game will be important as well.

“We played really good the last month but the international break, the first game after you think what will happen? Yesterday we trained good and we have two more training sessions and will be ready for it again.”

City won all three games against Arsenal last season, including a 4-1 victory at the Etihad, but the Gunners have turned the tables this campaign with victory on penalties in the Community Shield and a 1-0 win at the Emirates in October.

Asked what the difference is between Mikel Arteta’s side then and now, Guardiola said: “Same manager, same players.

“They control many aspects of the game and every time they are better and better.

“When you have consistency in terms of ideas and the same manager, you always improve. If you change manager and players, it is more difficult.”

John Stones has insisted Manchester City believe another treble is a possibility this season.

City tasted Premier League, Champions League and FA Cup success last year and remain in each of those competitions.

A hard-fought 1-0 win at Bournemouth on Saturday helped Pep Guardiola’s team close the gap to divisional leaders Liverpool to one point before they turn their attention to Tuesday’s trip to Luton in the FA Cup fifth round.

“That’s what we’re all here for and what everyone wants us to do. We want to try recreate what we did last season and that’s still possible,” Stones said.

“Games like this are one of the reasons why we made that possible last season.

“So, we go to the next game and have the same focus, try to do the same thing, get another win and move on to the next stage. The team we’ve got, the squad we’ve got, I’m sure we can do it.”

England defender Stones was at his versatile best against Bournemouth, regularly stepping into midfield and dominant in possession.

Phil Foden’s first-half tap-in earned the champions a 15th win from their last 17 matches.

It was also City’s third clean sheet from their last four league fixtures, but it only came after Marcus Tavernier squandered two fine chances, Ederson thwarted Dominic Solanke and Enes Unal headed a golden opportunity wide in stoppage-time.

Stones told the official club website: “I thought Phil was incredible.

“To come away with the three points is just what we wanted.

“It was something we’re so pleased with, you know how we dug in right until the end. It is never easy to come here and think you will dominate for 95 minutes.

“We came through the tough times, which is so important and while you’ll in it, it is not nice but when you come through it, we’re really proud of ourselves and pleased to keep another clean sheet against a team that threw everything at it.”

Bournemouth’s efforts after the break arguably warranted a point, but their winless league run now sits at seven matches.

 

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The Cherries have won twice in 2024 – both in the FA Cup – and they turn their focus back to that competition when Sky Bet Championship leaders Leicester visit Vitality Stadium on Tuesday.

Defender Lloyd Kelly (hip) is set to be absent and while boss Andoni Iraola was delighted with their display on Saturday, he warned a repeat is not guaranteed.

“I think the only thing is probably it gives more hope for the next games if we can keep this level, but it is not a guarantee,” Iraola pointed out.

“There is no guarantee that we will play next week the same we did here.

“Different games, different approaches. We have to see how we recover because we have a very demanding game in the cup against Leicester.

“They have one day more for rest and I think it is a big advantage. For us, it is also a very important game.”

Pep Guardiola hopes John Stones can now start to put a run of games together after what has been a frustrating season to date.

The England centre-back, who shone in a hybrid defence-midfield role in Manchester City’s treble-winning campaign last season, has made only 11 appearances this term.

He missed 12 games at the start of the season with a hip problem and then picked up a muscular injury in November that sidelined him for another month.

His return from that setback then proved shortlived as he hurt his ankle at former club Everton in December, not featuring again until last Wednesday’s Premier League victory over Burnley.

Yet after the 29-year-old managed 90 minutes against the Clarets, City manager Guardiola is hopeful he can put his fitness issues behind him.

Guardiola said: “He’s really good. The injury was not muscular, it was the ankle and when the ankle is OK, the risk is minimal, I would say.

“It was good (after Burnley). Still he needs to make a step forward, it’s not the John Stones that we met last season but (it’s) step by step.

“We have had a lot of setbacks this season for many injuries but hopefully he can continue and avoid them.”

Champions City are back in action as they travel to Brentford on Monday.

The Bees did the double over City last season and Guardiola has been impressed by the work manager Thomas Frank has done at the Gtech Community Stadium.

Guardiola said of the Dane: “He’s been unbelievable. The consistency, the club, how they’ve relied on him for many, many years.

“Everyone comes in and knows what exactly what they have to do. When you have a manager for many years everybody knows what they have to do. That helps a lot.

“In the beginning it is more difficult but they did really well. They have incredible strikers up front. Big compliment. I have a lot of admiration for him.”

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