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A great day to set things right – John Stones says Man City must improve

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John Stones admitted Manchester City made some mistakes after manager Pep Guardiola scored on his players last week.

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After needing to fight back from 2-0 down to beat Tottenham last Thursday, City boss Guardiola publicly criticized his squad, claiming they lacked hunger and fire.

Guardiola’s broadside underlined his frustration after a series of disappointing results, including a derby defeat to Manchester United and a humbling Carabao Cup exit at Southampton.

His response was to tear apart Wolves 3-0, with the prolific Erling Haaland scoring his fourth hat-trick of the season in his latest Premier League outing at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday.

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Pep Guardiola, left, was heavily critical of his players (Martin Ricketts/PA)

Defender Stones said: “At half-time the other day he (Guardiola) told us what he wanted, what he was not happy with.

He said, ‘As players we were not giving our best, were not playing well and we had to improve it. We have to learn from these things and that happens in football.

“We had to move quickly and it was a good day to get things right. We had to start well, play our football, be free, be patient, not get discouraged by things and the chances will come – and He certainly did.”

Haaland’s performance, which took his goal tally for the season to 31 from 26 appearances in all competitions, was also a strong riposte to claims that City have been a force to be reckoned with since his arrival last summer, at least in terms of style. There is a worse side.

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Erling Haaland scored a hat-trick as Wolves were brushed aside (Martin Rickett/PA)

Stones said: “I’m so happy for him. I love Erling as a person and he is an incredible football player.

“He’s been great for us so far and I don’t think this is the last of it either. There’s a lot more to come from him. He’s hungry, he’s ready to play, fight and score.”

After a poor start, Haaland put City ahead after 40 minutes when he headed home a cross from Kevin De Bruyne, who had come back after being subbed off against Spurs.

Haaland doubled the lead in the 50th minute with a penalty after a foul on Ilkay Gundogan and completed the treble moments later after a mistake by Wolves goalkeeper Jose Sa.

The win ensured that City remained within five points of leaders Arsenal at the top of the table.

City have yet to face the Gunners this season but will get a first look at them when they meet in the fourth round of the FA Cup on Friday.

Stones said: “I’m sure there’s a lot of talk outside the dressing room about us playing him, but we’re going to stay focused, control what we can and go into it like we do every other game.” We do.”

Wolves’ problems in front of goal continue, with the team having scored just 12 times this term and manager Julen Lopetegui is also concerned about their defence.

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Julen Lopetegui’s team were beaten (Martin Ricketts/PA)

The defeat left them 17th in the table, just above the bottom three on goal difference.

Lopetegui said, “It is not easy to score goals.

He said, ‘We have to do better to get more chances and then take advantage of them. Having clean sheets is more important. We can improve in both boxes.

“Our main objective is to get out of the last match without relegation. We have four exciting and difficult months ahead. We have to be ready.”

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