Monday, September 16, 2019

Gary Neville has slammed Manchester City's John Stones and Nicolas Otamendi and believes the champions will struggle to retain the title with their current centre-half partnership.

Pep Guardiola's men fell to a shock 3-2 defeat at Norwich at the weekend, in which the visitors' defensive deficiencies were horribly exposed by the Premier League newcomers.

When questioned about the lapse defending before the second goal, Carragher said: 'He (Stones) doesn't focus. He has to see that danger, and he has to sprint there.

'He doesn't, he ambles across. Otamendi dives in, he's done it all his career and that's why he will never be good enough for Man City.'

The hosts' third, and ultimately crucial goal, had come as a result of the maligned Argentine being robbed of the ball after attempting to play out from the back.

But ex-Liverpool stalwart Carragher believes that Stones is now also embroiled in a battle to salvage his career with the top-flight giants.

'They've been heavily criticized,' Carragher added. 'Stones in the next four of five months is fighting for his Man City career, in that if it doesn't go well for him they'll go and buy someone.

'At the moment I think Guardiola doesn't want to play them together, but he's got no choice.'

The Spanish tactician has seen his defensive ranks crippled by Aymeric Laporte's long-term injury. The French star was stretched off in City's 4-0 victory against Brighton, having damaged cartilage and the lateral meniscus in his right knee.

City had also opted not to further recruit after skipper Vincent Kompany's departure to Anderlecht in the summer.


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