LONDON, March 10 — Raheem Sterling urged Manchester City to maintain their “amazing mentality” as the Premier League leaders chase an unprecedented quadruple.
Pep Guardiola’s side won the English title in record-breaking fashion last season, but their defence of the crown has been much tougher, with Liverpool posing a serious threat.
City have climbed back above the Reds in recent weeks and also lifted the League Cup trophy following their final win over Chelsea.
With a 3-2 lead over Schalke heading into Tuesday’s Champions League last 16 second leg and an FA Cup quarter-final at Swansea next weekend, City are still in with a chance of sweeping up all the available silverware.
Sterling’s 13-minute treble secured a 3-1 win against Watford in the league on Saturday and the England winger believes City’s confidence and steely focus can carry them to an historic season.
“It’s going alright for me and the team,” Sterling said.
“We’ve got one trophy already and the most important thing is not how many goals I am scoring, it’s how many trophies we lift.
“You know, hopefully we can continue with this amazing mentality and see how far it gets us.
“We don’t get excited about anything. We know how difficult teams can be, we know how difficult these competitions are, we’re playing against top teams, top players and anything can happen.
“We’ve got to keep humble, keep fighting game by game.”
Guardiola kept Sterling’s feet on the ground by saying “he can do better” after a match that was level until a controversial opener just after half-time.
Daryl Janmaat’s clearance hit Sterling and went in, but the forward appeared to be offside when played through by Sergio Aguero.
“No, I didn’t hear what (the referee) was saying but at the time I didn’t think I was offside, so I was hoping he did have a long think and give us the goal and that’s exactly what he’s done,” Sterling said.
“But it was a nervous few seconds waiting for him to make the decision, but I was happy to see him give it.
“I happened to get the luck, so I am happy with that. I’ll take them all day.”
Sterling’s second goal came quickly after the contentious opener and his third was a smart finish, taking his tally to 18 for the season in all competitions.
“Best goal of the season? No, not a chance! Shakhtar, Champions League,” he said.
“But it’s a great way to cap the hat-trick off and I am really happy and pleased that the team got a massive three points and that’s the most important thing.” — AFP