Thursday 26 November, 2020

Raheem Sterling vows to step up to lethal level with Manchester City

Manchester City and England forward Raheem Sterling.

Manchester City and England forward Raheem Sterling.

Raheem Sterling believes he is 15 goals short of where he could be this season as he warned Manchester City have "another level to go".

It remains to be seen whether English football can resume amid the coronavirus crisis, or whether it will go the same way as the Netherlands, where the 2019-20 season has been abandoned.

Sterling's 20 goals in all competitions for City this term have maintained his consistent high level of contribution to Pep Guardiola's team, even though they have been left standing by runaway leaders Liverpool in the Premier League.

And the speedy forward is determined to step up whenever football returns, hungry for more success with last season's domestic treble winners.

Asked about where his game is, Sterling told BBC Radio 5 Live: "I'd say probably about 15 goals off where I want to be, so those are the targets: to try to create good numbers, but not just numbers to have numbers.

"At the end of the day you want to have trophies to back up that season because 10 years from now, you can score a lot of goals, but if I can't look back at those goals being important for my team and having a great value then those goals were pointless."

City have bagged the EFL Cup this season and were in the hunt for the FA Cup before the season was paused in March.

Sterling has come to appreciate the value of silverware as more than a pleasing accompaniment to his personal success.

"It's one of those - [you want] to try to contribute as much as I can but at the end of the season have medals to show for it," he said.

The England star said City are a team where egos are not rampant, adding: "We've still got another level to go.

"In my time at City, the most important thing I've learned is the value of winning. Before, if I won a game it was good, but if I lost a game you're disappointed but it doesn't burn you as much.

"But if we lose one game in 15 at Manchester City you wouldn't like to be in the dressing room - it's like the worst thing in the world's happened.

"That's the biggest thing I've learned since I've been there and it's something that I definitely carry with me, not just in football but in anything I do - that winning mentality."

The 25-year-old joined City from Liverpool five years ago and says the improved mental side of the game comes from working with former Barcelona head coach Guardiola.

"That's the number one thing I've taken from him," Sterling said.

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