Pep Guardiola praised the ‘extraordinary’ performance displayed by Raheem Sterling in the Champions League match against Atalanta.
Sterling’s performance capped a fine comeback after two Sergio Aguero goals had canceled out Ruslan Malinovskyi’s penalty opener at the Etihad Stadium on Tuesday.
The 24-year-old treble took his tally to 16 goals in 17 games for the club and country this season with 10 assists also contributed.
“All the credit is for him,” Guardiola said. “He is a guy whose physicality is incredible. He is so strong.’
“A day after a game, he could play another game. His regeneration is incredible.”
“He can play both sides. He is fast and defensively he helps us a lot. Additionally, he is an extraordinary player.”
City’s victory maintained their 100% record in the competition and placed them within touching distance of the last 16 as they moved five points clear at the top of Group C.
There were downsides with Rodri being forced off injured before half-time and Phil Foden sent off later on after being booked twice in the seven minutes space.
“We don’t know about Rodri yet.” Said Guardiola. “I think we will know, hopefully, it will be around 10 days if his hamstring is not broken. If broken, he will be out for three weeks to a month.”
“For Phil, what is important is not the red card but how he played. He played at a high level. He is also an incredible player.”
City can assure their place in the knockout stages when they travel to Italy to face Atalanta next month.
Foden will learn
A further complication for Guardiola in an otherwise routine victory was the late dismissal of the youngster, Foden after a second yellow card.
“He will learn.” Said Guardiola.
“Ask the referee whether the red card was harsh, I’m not a referee. He told me not to talk so much because he wanted to show me a yellow card so I didn’t say anything else. They use their power well.”
“Manchester City does not fine players when they get a red card. Red cards are part of the game.”
“The important thing about Phil today wasn’t the red card, it was the way he played, the incredible player he is.”
“He will know after having one yellow card that you need to be a bit more careful. People say he has to play more minutes. I want him to play but there are things where he is far away from Gundogan and De Bruyne.”
“He has to live through these kinds of a situation so he can understand being careful on a yellow. That is what experience means, and this is going to help him. Maybe I have to pay him, for how well he played.”
Courtesy of their victory, City is on the verge of qualifying for the next round of the Champions League.