Pep Guardiola says Raheem Sterling is showing signs of returning to his best form as he expressed his delight with the winger’s recent performances.

Sterling went 12 games without a scoring earlier this season, but is back amongst the goals after netting twice in as many matches, with decisive strikes against Everton and Paris Saint-Germain.


The England international has been prolific in recent years, registering more than 20 goals in three of his last four seasons and the Manchester City boss feels Sterling is heading in the right direction as he bids to recapture that sort of form.

“I am so glad for him, it helps us that’s for sure,” he said at his pre-match press conference ahead of City’s game against West Ham.

“Of course, he will fight to be better and better. It is important for the strikers and wingers to score a lot of goals for us and a lot of assists.

“He was decisive. He was completely decisive in what we have done in the last three years.

“Scoring goals gives a lot of confidence, but still he knows he can do better and be aggressive and win duels one against one and arrive in the final third.

“This is a step to get back to his best form.”

Guardiola believes it is important players do not put too much pressure on themselves if they suffer a downturn in form.

The manager accepts that individual performances will fluctuate over the course of the season, which is why he feels it is vital you remain focused on the fundamentals of the game when things aren’t going your way.

He has been pleased with Sterling’s attitude and application during his bid to return to goalscoring form and, given everything City have achieved during his tenure, he has doubts about his players’ quality.

“His attitude has always been good,” he added.

“I always say to the players, demand from yourself as much as possible but don’t put a lot of pressure on your shoulders.

“In a career you can’t be 10/10 all the time. You have highs and lows, so the important thing is the lows aren’t too low.

“Do your best, perform to your maximum, demand of yourself but the success of the team does not depend on absolutely you.

“They have to know it is normal for your level to drop. With this crazy calendar, they don’t have time to rest.

“Sometimes the guys are tired, especially the talented players. You cannot imagine how difficult it is for the talented players every three days to be creative in their actions. It is so difficult.

“For the guys who are physical, who just have to run, it is easier. But for these guys who have to dribble, to create, it is so demanding.

“So, you have to come back to the basics. Sometimes you help the team with the defensive work and step by step the basics of what you have to do will be enough and after the confidence will come back.

“When one player doesn’t play good, I don’t doubt they have the skills.

“I am not going to tell Raheem or another player that they don’t have the quality to do what they have done for the last five or six years of their career.”