Guardiola hails Sterling versatility – Manchester City FC

Pep Guardiola has heaped praise on Raheem Sterling after his fine display against PSG in the Champions League on Tuesday.

City lost 2-0 in Paris but were excellent for much of the game, with Sterling a constant threat in a central role.

And with the England man also able to play on the left and right of our front three, he offers real flexibility to a manger always looking for minute tactical details that can improve our play.

Guardiola was delighted with the way Sterling performed at the Parcs de Princes and says he has certain qualities no other player in our squad can provide.

“He played really well against PSG,” Guardiola said.

“He created a special chance when [Gianluigi] Donnarumma saved. We needed his quality in that game, his speed. He did exceptionally well.

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“He can play there [on the right] but at the start of the season Gabriel played there really well. In that game we need players who can attract PSG players in other areas. We need a guy who can run right and left, Sterling is the best we have in our squad.

“It depends on the opponent, sometimes we need a specific player. Raheem played really well on the right during our 100 points season.

“I thought he was able to do a good performance and that’s what he has done.”

City travel to Anfield on Sunday for a game against Liverpool, the final instalment of a gruelling week that also saw us travel to Chelsea and PSG.

Jurgen Klopp’s side have been our main rivals in recent seasons, with the two teams often competing for the Premier League title.

In 2018-19, City finished just one point ahead of Liverpool to win the Premier League for the second consecutive season, before Liverpool took top spot the following year as City finished as runners up. 

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Guardiola says to have Liverpool, a team steeped in history, as one our fiercest rivals is an honour.

“For us it is an honour to have Liverpool as rivals,” Pep says.

“But in many years we try to compete against this legendary club, for us it is an honour to be their rivals because it means we are there competing against one of the most historic teams in England.”

Meanwhile, Guardiola says he is not focusing on the Premier League table just yet.

With just one point separating the top six sides, many observers believe this could be one of the tightest title races in recent years.  

But Guardiola says he gleans nothing from a league table at such an embryonic stage, and cited the 2018-19 season, which saw City fall seven points behind Liverpool in January before coming back to win the title, as evidence that anything can happen over the course of a long campaign.

“I start to see the table after 10, 12 fixtures,” Guardiola says. “Now to be one ahead or one down is not important.

“When you arrive in knockout stages that is important. We reached a high level in the last weeks – especially in the last two matches – and this is what we have to continue. It will help in the end. The way we play is what will help us at the end of the season.

“To win at Anfield would be good, I can’t deny, like in Stamford Bridge. It’s so nice to live these kinds of games.

“It’s important not to be far, far away. But when we won the second Premier League title in a row, our back to back, we were seven behind Liverpool in January and we won the league.

“If we lose we will look at what we can improve. In general, right now, I feel more than happy.

“The way we play in Stamford Bridge and Paris was like a great team and this is what I like.”

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