Stones, who has been rejuvenated in defence for City in recent games, netted his first goal for the club since November 2017 to open the scoring, before Fernandinho added a second to set up a meeting with Jose Mourinho’s Tottenham at Wembley.
“It’s a nice start to the year,“ Stones said with a smile. “I’m thrilled to score, especially in a derby. Something you can only dream of until it happens.
“Yeah, absolutely made up. I’m sure my friends and family will be made up at home.
“It’s been a long, long time for me. I wasn’t sure if VAR [would intervene], it kind of threw me off my celebrations a bit, but I’m absolutely thrilled.”
Asked why the Carabao Cup seems to bring the best out of City, Stones said: “I don’t know. I think everyone’s so hungry in the dressing room to win trophies and no matter what game it is, no matter who we’re up against, I think the winning mentality of the lads is something so special.
“Something that is very rare in football, maybe, for a team to be successful for so many years… or challenging for so many years, that might be the right phrase. And it’s something that we pride ourselves on and something that we’ve got to continue doing.”
The 26-year-old centre-back has flourished since surprisingly being restored to the starting line-up and forming an impressive partnership with summer acquisition Ruben Dias.
“I think we’ve just got to keep building on it, keep trying, working hard,” Stones told CityTV. “We’ve always got things to improve on.
“All credit to him – I’ll take a bit of credit for him – but hopefully we can keep moving forward and keep getting clean sheets and doing our job for the team.”