Sterling target: Exceed 11 goals

Manager Manuel Pellegrini says Raheem Sterling, who scored his first Champions League goal against Sevilla on Tuesday, is bound to pick up pointers from the more experienced players in Manchester City.
Manager Manuel Pellegrini says Raheem Sterling, who scored his first Champions League goal against Sevilla on Tuesday, is bound to pick up pointers from the more experienced players in Manchester City.PHOTO: ACTION IMAGES

Pellegrini wants striker to better his Liverpool record, says Delph will also be an asset to City

LONDON • Manuel Pellegrini has told Raheem Sterling that a repeat of his previous best goals tally will not be good enough for Manchester City and that he expects the England forward to become a more prolific scorer.

Sterling moved to within five goals of equalling his record of 11 for Liverpool last season with a fine finish in City's 3-1 Champions League win away to Seville on Tuesday, and Pellegrini has left the player under no illusions that he wants more.

"I knew he scored 11 for Liverpool and I don't think that's a huge amount for Raheem," said the City manager ahead of his side's Premier League clash away at Aston Villa today.

"He must score more and, to do that, he must work a lot.

"He soon settled into our style of play and I'm happy that he has six already. It is important for a striker who must improve his number of goals to be calm in the box.

  • PELLEGRINI'S REPORT CARD ON STERLING

  • 1. Improve on his Liverpool output

    "I knew he scored 11 for Liverpool and I don't think that's a huge amount for Raheem. He must score more and, to do that, he must work a lot."

    2. Finetune composure and finishing

    "It is important... to be calm in the box. It's important to finish with your head up and dominate the situation, not let the situation dominate you."

    3. Create chances for him

    "The style we play is good for him. He will have good chances to score. Now, we must be quiet and let him do it in the correct way."

"It's important to finish with your head up and dominate the situation, not let the situation dominate you. And that's something we're trying to improve (in him) every day."

Pellegrini insisted that he quickly identified Sterling's finishing as the main area where the player could make improvements.

"We try to work with all the players in different moments," he said.

"Of course, Raheem is a young player and I was sure from the beginning that he must improve a lot.

"When you are 21 years old (Sterling is 20) and you work as a good professional, you must improve.

"Playing every day with important players is good for a young player, you are always learning from experienced players.

"The third thing, which is also very important, is the style we play is good for him. He will have good chances to score.

"Now, we must be quiet and let him do it in the correct way."

Pellegrini is convinced that another summer signing, Fabian Delph, was right to turn his back on Villa for City.

The midfielder - who faces his former club for the first time since the switch at Villa Park - initially turned down a move to Manchester to stay with the Midlands club.

He stunned Villa supporters in July by agreeing to join City in an £8 million (S$17 million) deal only five days after he had pledged his future to Villa.

The England player's short career at City has been blighted by a succession of hamstring injuries.

However, Pellegrini believes that Delph made the right move.

"He's been unlucky with the two injuries he's had but he's a very good professional, he works hard to recover as soon as he can.

"I'm sure he will be an important player for us in the future," said the Chilean manager.

"There were different problems he had at that moment (in July) but, in the end, I am happy for him because he took the correct decision."

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on November 08, 2015, with the headline 'Sterling target: Exceed 11 goals'. Print Edition | Subscribe