Pep Guardiola believes that Raheem Sterling will make his Manchester City side stronger.
On Friday, Sterling signed a three-year contract extension with the club.
GALLERY: Sterling | The story so far...
The 23-year-old, who has scored seven goals in 14 games this season, will remain at the Etihad Stadium until the summer of 2023, and Pep Guardiola has stated just how much he means to the squad ahead of the Manchester derby.
After receiving criticism for the penalty decision against Shakhtar during the week, Guardiola has backed his forward, explaining the pivotal role Raheem plays both on the pitch and in the dressing room.
“I don’t know why anyone should criticise Raheem,” Pep explained. “He’s an incredibly nice guy. Incredible for locker room and does absolutely everything on the pitch.
“He makes mistakes because he is only 23 years-old. He is so quick. The chip - he has to do it slower!
“What people say about him and his actions, I don’t understand.
“He will make us stronger. He is stronger than we met each other in the first year.
“He controls his emotions better - sometimes we demand a lot from our players when they are so young.”
Watch the rest of Pep Guardiola’s press conference in the video above…