Raheem Sterling explains why Pellegrini didn’t suit him

Published by on November 1, 2016

Pep Guardiola has already achieved something remarkable at Manchester City.

After just a few months at the club, the Catalan is not guaranteed of any silverware in his first season in charge, with the title race set to go down to the wire.

In the eyes of many City fans, though, he will have already proven his managerial credentials due to the remarkable way in which he’s turned Raheem Sterling around.

Sterling’s summer with England could not have gone any worse. The attacking midfielder’s disastrous Euro 2016 saw him become a hate figure, and it was even thought he might leave City after a difficult season under Manuel Pellegrini.

Given the 21-year-old’s recent resurgence – proven by his five Premier League goals and three assists – it’s a good job he stayed in the north-west, and he’s credited Guardiola with helping him rediscover his identity.

‘I feel a lot more freedom, I feel I can get on the ball a bit more and as I get the ball I feel I can express myself by taking touches and trying to take players on,” he told BBC Sport.

“I’m really enjoying it.

 

‘Under the previous coach, in training sometimes it was always two touches and you kind of get into that way of playing and you forget your identity and how to play.

‘That’s not my style of play. My style of play is to get the ball and try to go at players.”

Sterling fits Guardiola’s brand of football well, and he certainly looks a lot less restricted. The challenge now is for him to maintain that over a whole season, as he has always been a player who has had a tendency to be erratic.

City are sitting top of the Premier League, but they can’t afford to be complacent with Arsenal and Sterling’s old club Liverpool breathing down their necks – so it’s vital their biggest stars keep performing.