Raheem Sterling praised Manchester City’s character after he scored two late goals to give his side a 4-2 home win against Borussia Monchengladbach and secure top spot in Group D of the Champions League.
City were 2-1 down with 11 minutes to go but Sterling struck a crucial brace to turn the game on its head, substitute Wilfried Bony securing the victory with a late fourth goal at the Eithad Stadium.
The result ensures City will avoid Champions League big guns and fellow group winners Real Madrid, Barcelona and Bayern Munich in the next round.
“It’s brilliant [to top the group], we worked hard, we deserve it,” said Sterling, who has now hit nine goals this season for the club he joined from Liverpool in the off-season.
“We made it hard and difficult at times but we won today and showed character and hopefully now we can carry it on into the next stage.”
City had to beat Gladbach and hope Juventus slipped up at Sevilla, with Fernando Llorente’s goal for the Europa League holders giving the Spanish club third place and the chance to defend their title.
Sterling, who was celebrating his 21st birthday, added: “The most important thing was trying to avoid the big teams and getting a fair draw.”