Sunday 8 December, 2019

Sterling felt more title pressure at Liverpool than City

Manchester City winger Raheem Sterling.

Manchester City winger Raheem Sterling.

Raheem Sterling does not feel Manchester City will come under the same level of pressure as Liverpool during the Premier League title run-in.

City forward Sterling enjoyed a brilliant breakthrough campaign at Anfield in 2013-14, when Brendan Rodgers' side launched a thrilling bid for Premier League glory.

They came up agonisingly short after Steven Gerrard's infamous slip against Chelsea and a surrendered 3-0 lead at Crystal Palace allowed Manuel Pellegrini's City to steal ahead during the final week of the campaign.

That was the closest Liverpool have come to ending a 28-year wait for their 19th English top-flight crown, while Sterling got his hands on a Premier League winners' medal as he shone under Pep Guardiola last season.

"That experience can be plus but at the same time it's a complete different scenario to last year," the England international said in an interview with Sky Sports.

"Last season it was comfortable at this stage of the season. This time we're chasing and it’s close."

City remain a point behind Liverpool with 10 games to play after they saw off West Ham 1-0 at the Etihad Stadium on Wednesday.

Sterling was introduced as a second-half substitute alongside Bernardo Silva to decisively turn the game in the hosts' favour and he conceded to experiencing a nervy atmosphere around him at the Etihad Stadium.

"I could see it from the bench, there was a bit of frustration going on, which is normal," he said. "We had a couple of chances that we could have taken."

However, the pressure the 24-year-old felt on Merseyside when he was operating alongside the likes of Gerrard and Luis Suarez was of a different nature entirely.

"When I was there I did feel a lot more pressure than when I'm here," Sterling said.

"On a matchday with the fans, I think that would get to us a little bit. But, at the same time, we were in control.

"We had an opportunity to see it through and we didn't."

Sterling dispatched the decisive penalty in last Sunday's EFL Cup final triumph over Chelsea and City remain in contention in the Champions League and FA Cup.

Although Guardiola rejects all notions of a quadruple being on the cards, his star winger believes the Catalan coach's unflinching winning mentality means City will be forced to extend themselves on all fronts.

"The winning mentality is from the manager," Sterling added.

"You see that on an every-day basis. Against the big teams, the teams in the FA Cup, in the League Cup. He wants to win every game, not just put out the under-18s.

"He tries his best and that's the most perfect thing that can happen – a manager that doesn't just want to win the Premier League, but every competition."

Get the latest local and international news straight to your mobile phone for free: