Raheem Sterling: Pep Guardiola’s focus on ‘the basics’ has improved me as a player at Manchester City

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Raheem Sterling believes his improvement at Manchester City this season is down to Pep Guardiola’s focus on “the basics”.

Sterling earned the first Premier League title winners’ medal of his career this week to cap off an excellent individual season, his best to date in front of goal.

The winger’s tally of 22 goals in all competitions is twice the amount of his previous best, with the latest coming in Saturday’s win at Tottenham Hotspur

After that victory, Guardiola claimed that if Sterling can add yet more goals to his game, he could become one of the best players in the world.

Sterling credits the progress he has made this season to the City manager and counts himself lucky to be working with one of the game’s top coaches. 

“It’s all about the basics with him,” Sterling said of Guardiola, while reflecting on City’s title win. 

“Little things like how you receive the ball and look to play. He pushes you to be better at the small things and that improves your performance. 

“It’s be great for me to learn in this environment and improve as a player under him. He’s one of the best managers in the world. It’s special to be part of.”

On whether he can add more goals to his game and live up to Guardiola’s expectations, Sterling said: “I just need to keep improving and focus on how I can help the team. 

“I set my own targets and I aim to achieve them every season but it’s more important to get the club where it wants to be. 

“It’s been a good season for me but there are details I can change to make me sharper or more clinical and I always look to improve.”

Sterling does not expect this title win to be City’s last and he sees the younger players in Guardiola’s side – himself, Leroy Sané, Gabriel Jesus and John Stones – carrying the club on to more success in the future.

“I think that’s a big thing for this team. Look at Leroy, Gabriel, Stonsey, they’re all quality players but they’re young guys too,” he said.

“Vinny [Kompany, City’s captain] has already said how important it will be for us to look to win it again next year and that will be the big test. 

“City haven’t done that before but every year we play together we’ll get better and hopefully we can win more trophies in future.

“Plenty of teams win trophies but to defend them is a different challenge and if we can do that then we’ll be moving in the right direction.”

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