Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola believes Raheem Sterling’s improved form is down to simply feeling more “love”.
Sterling, 21, joined City in a £44million move from Liverpool last year, but failed to live up to the price tag in his first season at the club.
The England international attacker has been trusted by Guardiola, who replaced Manuel Pellegrini at the helm, and has played every minute so far this campaign.
Guardiola said that had very little to do with improvement in his game, rather belief shown in him.
“Now he feels the love, believe me. Do you think I improved his skill in a month and a half?” he said.
“All the managers in the world try to create a good environment but they are the ones who play. I can’t decide the games.
“The referee whistles and I wave my hands around, but football belongs to the players. I am so happy that Raz [Sterling] shows his talent.
“I might suggest if they stand in a certain place they will receive the ball more. But they decide between a million possibilities in a second.”
Sterling was regularly substituted by Pellegrini last season, and has an assist to his name in two Premier League games this campaign.
Guardiola acknowledged the difficultly of keeping his entire squad happy, saying it was an impossible task.
“I would like to have only 18 players. It would be a dream because everyone is happy but unfortunately there are injuries, we have to compete every three days,” he said.
“In Germany, they have a winter break, here not.
“We have all the competitions here: four; so many games and we need a bigger squad. But always we are polite with the players.”
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