Pep Guardiola's Man City message 'rubs off on everyone' - John Stones

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola with John Stones
Pep Guardiola (left) and John Stones joined Manchester City in 2016

Manchester City's players are still listening to manager Pep Guardiola, according to defender John Stones.

After back-to-back league titles with a combined tally of 198 points, City have struggled by comparison this term.

They are 11 points behind Liverpool before Tuesday's trip to Burnley but Stones rejects the notion Guardiola's message is no longer being absorbed.

"No," he told BBC Radio Five Live. "Definitely not. Everyone knows how passionate Pep is."

Stones added: "That rubs off on everyone, whether it is the players, the chef or the receptionist."

The 25-year-old England international says Guardiola has remained the same intense figure throughout a relatively disappointing spell, in which City have won once in five games.

It is a measure of their consistency that Guardiola's side have not been on a similar run since the spring of 2017, the former Barcelona coach's first year in charge.

"He wants the best from everyone," Stones said.

"Every day he demands and expects the highest quality from everyone. He wants drive and determination to succeed from everyone.

"That is evident more than ever now because we have the hunger that comes from lifting trophies and winning games. When that doesn't go right, he drives us to win and get back to how we are and what we know. That is very special for someone to get across but he definitely transcends that through the team."

City's problem is that they are being judged by their own high standards, which were far beyond anything any team had achieved throughout the history of the English game.

In addition to their accumulation of points, City have also won the last two EFL Cups and last season's FA Cup, when a 6-0 win over Watford at Wembley equalled the record for the biggest final victory in the history of a competition that stretches back to 1872. They also won the Community Shield, to become the first English team to complete a clean sweep of domestic trophies.

The gap to Liverpool comes from Jurgen Klopp's men dropping only two points in their opening 14 games.

If Liverpool carry on like that, they would be on 108 points for the campaign. When they last won the title in 1990, they did it with 79 points.

"We have set extremely high standards," Stones said. "We have to try and meet them and set the bar even higher.

"But people need to recognise it is something that might not be done again. We have to keep fighting to try and match those standards but it might take years for a team to win the treble or the quadruple."