Raheem Sterling says he and his City colleagues have been challenged to raise standards once again as the defending Premier League Champions hone our preparations ahead of the new season.
City have arrived in Hong Kong on the latest leg of our Asia Tour and take on Hong Kong Premier League Champions Kitchee FC at the Hong Kong Stadium on Wednesday.
Looking ahead to the game, the England winger – who was one of the key architects of our historic Fourmidables campaign last season – said it was another vital opportunity to build up minutes and increase the squad’s match fitness.
CHECK OUT: 2019 Asia Tour
“The biggest difference is that every season, the competition gets tougher, the level gets raised and that’s one of the best things here – that it’s always a high tempo,” Sterling said in a pre-match press conference.
“You’re always learning and competing on all fronts with other players for your position.
“The manager sets a high standard and it’s down to us as players to match that and try and put out our best.
"Hopefully, the manager will put me on the pitch!
“I’ll try to get some minutes. It’s an important time for us – we have to get ready and get fit for the new season.
“That’s the most important thing – to try to get my fitness up and hopefully, I’ll score some goals.”
Our visit to Hong Kong marks the third stop on our Asia Tour following matches in Nanjing and Shanghai where we took on West Ham and Wolves in the Premier League Asia Trophy.
Local supporters have given the City squad a wonderful welcome at every location and Sterling said he and rest of the touring party were hugely appreciative of the reception they have been afforded.
“Everyday, we got back from training to the hotel and we embraced the fans,” Sterling added.
“We signed signatures after the game, said our goodbyes and I thought it was a really good connection.
“We came a little bit later than we expected to China and the turnaround was fast.
“There was a lot we have to catch up on – a lot of us are struggling with sleep – but it was a great experience for us and the boys and we all loved it.”