Guardiola: Raheem Sterling is no longer 'scared'

Guardiola: Raheem Sterling is no longer 'scared'

Javier Howell
November 8, 2018

Still only 23, the forward shined in City's 6-1 victory over Southampton, scoring a brace and assisting two more. And considering the form of their neighbours this season, Guardiola and his goal-hungry strike force may be eyeing another big score. "He is sharp, fast, clever, fighting, ambitious and is decisive".

However, they got an almighty helping hand by referee Viktor Kassai in their Champions League clash against Shakhtar on Wednesday night.

Sterling's comments could be seen as a further sign of encouragement, from City's point of view, that he is close to agreeing a new contract with the club.

Southampton, without a win in six league games, replied in the 29th when Danny Ings was brought down in the box and picked himself up to stroke the penalty past goalkeeper Ederson.

When quizzed about what has changed in Sterling's play since he moved to the Etihad Stadium from Liverpool for £49m three years ago, Guardiola said: "His head". He's becoming a winning player. We can not forget that.

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With the focus firmly back on on-field matters, City put on an efficient display that opened with a straightforward finish for David Silva, before Raheem Sterling was wrongly awarded a spot-kick after kicking the turf. "If he has his mind to become a better player, and think it is not enough what I am like as a football player, he can reach whatever he wants".

"Leroy is always a man who looks up for me", said Sterling.

"He is a top player but still is so young to be considered the world's best", said Guardiola. "I am not asking Sergio to be Gabriel (Jesus) or Kyle Walker but I am asking for the best be aggressive, with and without the ball".

Guardiola's players punished nearly every mistake made in the opening stages by a beleaguered Southampton side as they led 3-0 after just 18 minutes.

"That is the game gone right from the outset", manager Mark Hughes said. Sometimes they dribble and you arrive late, they go down and you make a foul. In fact the hosts faced 24 shots in that match, the most they had faced in a Champions League game since Sept 2015 against Real Madrid. "You can't overcommit because Man City have the ability to run over the top of you and it gets even more embarrassing".