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Media Watch

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Media Watch: Sterling on his FA Cup inspiration

There’s no let-up for Manchester City as Pep Guardiola’s side continue our quest for success.

The focus today is on our tea-time FA Cup quarter-final clash away at Swansea City and there’s plenty of pre-match talk to whet the appetite of Blues' fans.

There are also reflections too on yesterday's intriguing Champions League quarter-final draw.

But we start with our FA Cup assignment in south Wales where one of the key figures for City is set to be Raheem Sterling who is enjoying the finest season of his career to date.

And in a fascinating, wide-ranging exclusive interview with sport360.com, the England winger told Alam Khan of memories of growing up near Wembley, about attending his the first Cup final as a youngster and how that inspired his dreams of playing at the national stadium

Alam Khan writes: “Having grown up in the shadow of Wembley Stadium, Raheem Sterling was 12 when he enjoyed his first visit to the iconic ground and watched the 2007 FA Cup final.

“He had watched the new Wembley being built while riding around on his bike and was among local schoolchildren invited to take part in a special parade to mark the showpiece game.

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“My first game at Wembley was Man United-Chelsea, FA Cup final, Didier Drogba scores the winner,” said Sterling, whose Manchester City side visit Swansea in Saturday’s quarter-final tie.

“I was actually one of the boys’ attendants, the ones who wore the old kits for the [previous winning FA Cup] teams.

“It was the first final when the new stadium opened. It was amazing and another thing that inspired me to try to chase my dream of playing there one day. It motivated me, being there and seeing that.”

“He has since worked hard to fulfil his dream in the colours of their neighbours, targeting a first FA Cup final as a player having made his Wembley debut for England in 2014 and appeared in two League Cup final wins with City.

“The first was a penalty shoot-out win in 2016 against former club Liverpool – his first major trophy – while it was his decisive spot-kick that settled another shoot-out with Chelsea a month ago.

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“It was massive, at Wembley, being at home, and having the final say on the game was a dream come true,” Sterling told Sport360 exclusively.

“It was an opportunity I was willing to be there for. Obviously my family, friends, were all there so it was a moment I wanted to capitalise on. It was special, perfect.

“It’s not very often my mum (Nadine) asks for tickets. It was great she was there so I had to make her proud. I want to go back again in the FA Cup.”

“He added: “It’s about persistence. Sometimes you are down and disappointed, but you have to keep going, keep winning our games and focus on ourselves.

“That’s what the manager told us and what we have been doing. Now nothing changes either.

“We are taking things game by game, the Premier League, the Champions League and now the FA Cup.

“But we have to believe we can win every game, that has to be the mentality.”

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Ahead of this evening’s clash at the Liberty Stadium, Swans boss Graham Potter has heaped generous praise on both Pep Guardiola individually and City collectively.

The Swans boss believes his City counterpart has demonstrated time and again why he is the finest coach in the world.

And in his pre-match press conference, he told walesonline that City were ‘an inspiration for everyone’

Ian Mitchelmore reports: “Asked whether he thought Guardiola was the best coach in the world right now, Potter said: “As much as you can get. I think he’s the best. The process they’ve been on, from questioning whether his methods can work in the British game to breaking the PL points record, it’s amazing. They’ve got a fighting spirit as well. He’s a top coach.”

“It’s usually the one who’s got the most prizes but for me when you look at the three teams he’s managed, he’s had a huge influence on them all. He adapts to the quality of his players.”

“I think he should be an inspiration for any coach, regardless of how you play the game. They’re always humble and give their best in every game. In terms of their characteristics as a group, they’re an inspiration for everyone.”

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When the draw is made, the one team you want to avoid is Man City. The draw is made and we have no choice so we have to play Man City. We’ll do our best.”

“They’re the best team in the UK and in the last eight of the Champions League and one of the best teams in the world. We face a huge challenge.

“It’s a brilliant challenge for the players. We have to try, that’s what it is. It’s the FA Cup, it’s a one-off game. As we know anything can happen. “

Finally, there’s also plenty of reaction to yesterday’s Champions League quarter-final draw which pitted City against Tottenham Hotspur..

And according to Daily Telegraph columnist Jamie Carragher, he believes the way the last eight teams line-up has provided the Blues with our best chance yet of Champions League glory.

Carragher comments: “Manchester City’s time has come in Europe. The Champions League draw has opened up for them. They have never had a better chance to win the trophy and – no matter what happens in other competitions – there will be a lingering sense of missed opportunity if they do not go all the way this season.

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“Pep Guardiola is fooling no one when describing City as underdogs – or “teenagers”, as he put it this week. Such attempts to reduce the pressure will not work. He knows his City reign will be judged on Champions League success.

“Established clubs such as Real Madrid and Bayern Munich are out. Paris St-Germain fluffed their lines again. Barcelona are the only club remaining to have won the competition in the past 10 years. Juventus, Porto, Ajax, Manchester United and Liverpool are historic winners, but not with their current line-ups, as they seek to revive old habits.

“In terms of recent European success, all the teams left, barring Barcelona, are relative novices. City are the best equipped to put a new name on the most coveted European trophy.

“There are three clubs Guardiola would have most wanted to avoid in the quarter-final – Barcelona, Manchester United and Liverpool.

“Tottenham Hotspur have the quality to hurt City, but over two legs I feel Guardiola’s side will be too strong.”

That’s all for this morning’s Media Watch. Stay with us throughout the day as we bring you coverage of today’s FA Cup trip to Swansea..

And don’t forget, you can enjoy live minute-by-minute updates of today’s game with our Matchday Centre.




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