Champions League: Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola hails 'extraordinary' Raheem Sterling after 5-1 win over Atalanta

Pep Guardiola says hat-trick hero Raheem Sterling can still improve further and it will be up to the Manchester City forward as to whether he fulfils his potential and becomes a great of the game.

Reuters October 23, 2019 16:34:14 IST
Champions League: Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola hails 'extraordinary' Raheem Sterling after 5-1 win over Atalanta
  • Sterling had a hand in all five goals, including an 11-minute hat-trick, as City romped to a 5-1 Champions League victory over Atalanta

  • 'How much better he can become depends on him. I think he has that desire to get better,' said Guardiola after the landslide win

  • City fell behind to a Ruslan Malinovsky penalty but reacted by stepping up the tempo after a slow start to overwhelm their visitors

Manchester: Pep Guardiola says hat-trick hero Raheem Sterling can still improve further and it will be up to the Manchester City forward as to whether he fulfils his potential and becomes a great of the game.

Sterling, 24, had a hand in all five goals, including an 11-minute hat-trick, as City romped to a 5-1 Champions League victory over Italian side Atalanta on Tuesday, to take his tally to 12 goals in 13 appearances this season.

Champions League Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola hails extraordinary Raheem Sterling after 51 win over Atalanta

Raheem Sterling had a hand in all five goals, including an 11-minute hat-trick, in Manchester City's win over Atalanta. AP

His link-up play with Sergio Aguero and Phil Foden was at times breathtaking, leading to former Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand to suggest on BT Sport after the game he was now among the top five players in the world.

“How much better he can become depends on him,” Guardiola told reporters. “I think he has that desire to get better. I say all credit is for him. He’s a guy whose physicality is incredible.

“The day after a game, he could play another. He can play both sides, he’s fast, defensively he helps us a lot, he’s an extraordinary player.”

City fell behind to a Ruslan Malinovsky penalty but reacted by stepping up the tempo after a slow start to overwhelm their visitors and make it three wins from three in the pool. They will seal a knockout place with a win at Atalanta on 6 November.

“It was an incredible effort because Atalanta have a lot of quality. They are a top team. That’s why I am so satisfied. Nine points, we need one more win to be in the next stage.”

The only blemish on the night was a red card for teenager Foden, who had been excellent until two sloppy pieces of play saw him collect a couple of yellow cards in a six minute spell.

But Guardiola backed the 19-year-old and says it will be a lesson for him.

“With Phil, the important thing is not the red card but the way he played. He has to be a bit more clever when he has the first yellow.

“He has to live this kind of situation to understand. The first yellow card, be careful. The result was 5-1, but it could have been different if it had been 2-1 or 3-1. That experience is going to help him.”

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