Sterling: Goals will count for nothing without silverware for Manchester City

By Sports Desk December 18, 2019

Raheem Sterling insists his impressive goal tally this season will "not mean anything" if Manchester City fail to win any silverware.

The England international scored twice in the second half to earn City a 3-1 win over Oxford United in the EFL Cup quarter-finals on Wednesday.

The brace at the Kassam Stadium took Sterling to 18 goals for the season in all competitions and he hopes it will count for something at the end of the campaign, with the English champions battling for trophies on four fronts.

"It would not mean anything without silverware and then I'll be happy with my goal tally after that," he told Sky Sports. 

"Every competition we're trying to compete in. It's not just the Premier League, which I know that looks out of reach but we're looking to get to finals in this, the FA Cup and even the Champions League."

Sterling converted Angelino's cross to put City back in front after Matty Taylor had cancelled out Joao Cancelo's deflected opener, before netting from close range once picked out by Gabriel Jesus to seal City's place in the last four.

City boss Pep Guardiola handed Sterling the captain's armband and was pleased to see 25-year-old on the scoresheet for a second match running, having also netted in Sunday's 3-0 Premier League win at Arsenal.

"It doesn't matter who scores, but I'm happy for him," Guardiola said. "He likes to play and is fit all the time, so good for him."

City have won the EFL Cup in back-to-back seasons and will face Manchester United over two legs for a place in the 2019-20 final.

Related items

  • Guardiola only has eyes for Palace amid Liverpool v Man Utd hype Guardiola only has eyes for Palace amid Liverpool v Man Utd hype

    Pep Guardiola has no interest in the outcome of Liverpool versus Manchester United, with his focus only on finding a way to defeat Crystal Palace.

    Manchester City host Palace in the Premier League on Sunday, by which point champions Liverpool will have taken on United.

    Guardiola was asked who he thought would come out on top in the big clash at Anfield, but swiftly made it clear there was only one fixture he was focused on.

    "Crystal Palace," he replied. "It's the only thing I want - I want to beat them. The rest, honestly, I don't care. 

    "The last two seasons against Crystal Palace at home we got one point. We lost and we drew. Our performance in Selhurst Park was much better than the Etihad Stadium. 

    "That's what the only concern I have is - winning against Crystal Palace. 

    "We will play knowing the result [between Liverpool and United], because they play earlier than us, but I don't know."

    No side has kept more Premier League clean sheets this season than City (eight) and they are only four points behind leaders United with a game in hand.

    Despite their fine form, Guardiola is not concerned with the two sides ahead of them in the table getting all the attention.

    "I didn't talk with the players about that," added Guardiola. "Teams make confidence and make a positive for the next game they are going to play by how you performed in the last one.

    "I don't think the players are more optimistic or angry or upset because the people consider us not contenders this season, or maybe United or Liverpool are better than us.

    "Against Brighton [in the 1-0 win last time out] we played good. In the moments we didn't play good Brighton were brilliant. 

    "It is best to visualise we are in a good moment, because when you dream you want to be top of the league, you want to be in a better position when you don't play good, you are not going to achieve it. We won't get it."

    City will be eyeing an eighth straight victory in all competitions and a fifth consecutive Premier League win when they take on Palace.

    Only United (11) are on a longer current unbeaten run in the Premier League than City (eight), but Guardiola does not pay attention to such sequences.

    He added: "When we have had incredible runs I have never thought about how many wins or how many marathons we have to do to win something. 

    "When we won 18 games in a row in the season we got 100 points, after the win in the second game we said, 'okay, let's try to win the next one'. 

    "Then the next, then after that the next one. I never expect my players to win a lot of games. I want to win the next one, and the next one is Crystal Palace. 

    "This is the best way. I don't care how many games we are able to win or not win in a row. Absolutely zero. 

    "It is just Crystal Palace, Wilfried Zaha, Eberechi Eze, Christian Benteke, Roy Hodgson, Luka Milivojevic - this is the only way I am concerned since the day after we beat Brighton."

    DE BRUYNE EYES THREE FIGURES

    Kevin De Bruyne has racked up four assists in his last six appearances for City and will be looking to continue a strong individual run in matches with Palace.

    The Belgium international has been involved in eight goals in 10 Premier League games against Palace (two goals and six assists) – only against Southampton (two goals, seven assists) has he been involved in more in the competition.

    No Premier League player has provided more assists in all competitions than his 14 this season.

    In-form De Bruyne is hoping to reach a milestone against Palace, as his next assist will put him on to 100 for the club in all competitions.

  • Lampard thrilled with Mount: I wasn't blowing the world away in my first year or so Lampard thrilled with Mount: I wasn't blowing the world away in my first year or so

    Chelsea head coach Frank Lampard has expressed his delight at Mason Mount's performance against Fulham and Callum Hudson-Odoi's recent form.

    Mount scored the winning goal in the Blues' narrow 1-0 victory at Fulham, who played more than half the match a man light following Antonee Robinson's sending off just before the break.

    That goal was just the tip of the iceberg for Mount, who laid on a remarkable seven key passes – only three times in the Premier League this season has a player produced more in a single game.

    Lampard was overjoyed with the England international's display and highlighted the midfielder's already considerable experience despite only just turning 22, before suggesting Mount is even playing at a higher level than he was at a similar stage of his career.

    "I thought Mason's performance all round was fantastic," Lampard told reporters. "He has been very, very good for us in the past year, this year. He is a big example of why I talk about youth.

    "Mason turned 22 years old last week, the age I came to Chelsea at. I wasn't blowing the world away in my first year or so, Mason already has so many games under his belt.

    "Across out frontline, we've got; Christian Pulisic – similar age bracket, Kai Havertz – similar age bracket, Callum Hudson-Odoi – younger age bracket, Tammy [Abraham], Timo [Werner] – they're all young.

    "But to go back to Mason, his effort, attitude and quality of play today was outstanding."

    Hudson-Odoi was bright after coming off the bench in the final 15 minutes, though he was seemingly unfortunate not to start.

    The winger endured a difficult 2020 due to fitness problems and a lack of form, but he is starting to show why he had been so highly rated in his teenage years.

    In the past month, only Mount and Pulisic have created more Premier League chances than his six among Chelsea players, despite Hudson-Odoi playing just 176 minutes.

    That means he is averaging 3.1 key passes per 90 minutes in that time – Mount (4.2) is the only other player with a tally of more than two, and Lampard has been impressed by the 20-year-old's attitude.

    "There has been a real uplift in his form," Lampard added. "That's a sign of his development, he is coming on, going by people and showing confidence. And a lot of that will be down to the injury he had to get over last season.

    "Hakim [Ziyech] obviously gives us something different and was outstanding when fit. Christian [Pulisic] is always a threat. When I have the three, there is one who maybe can't start the game, but they must then come on and impact the game. Generally, a winger is where you make your changes.

    "Yes, I had Leicester in mind [when selecting the team] and we will see how players react in the next day or two. In this busy, busy period players will have to accept to be an impact player sometimes and then come in and start.

    "For Callum, I am delighted with how he is playing at the minute and he is approaching it in the right way. He will get many, many minutes for us."

  • Angers 0-1 Paris Saint-Germain: Kurzawa sends champions to Ligue 1 summit Angers 0-1 Paris Saint-Germain: Kurzawa sends champions to Ligue 1 summit

    Paris Saint-Germain moved to the top of Ligue 1 as Layvin Kurzawa's solitary goal sealed a 1-0 win over Angers on Saturday. 

    With head coach Mauricio Pochettino self-isolating after testing positive for COVID-19, assistant coach Jesus Perez took charge of the champions at Stade Raymond Kopa.

    He looked set to oversee a frustrating draw before Kurzawa's first goal of the season 20 minutes from time secured back-to-back league wins following last weekend's victory over Brest. 

    The result moved PSG two points clear of Lyon at the Ligue 1 summit, although Rudi Garcia's side can reclaim top spot if they overcome Metz on Sunday.

    The hosts started in a confident mood and Pierrick Capelle forced Keylor Navas into a smart save after just two minutes. 

    PSG belatedly woke from their slumber, with Kylian Mbappe clipping over after racing onto Neymar's pass before the Brazil international saw a close-range effort deflected into the side netting. 

    Moise Kean then glanced a header wide as PSG ended the first half having failed to register a single shot on target. 

    Mbappe flashed a strike into the side netting shortly after the interval, while Navas superbly kept out Lois Diony's diving header at the other end.

    Paul Bernardoni diverted Mbappe's effort wide after the France star had been played clean through by Neymar, but the Angers goalkeeper could do little about Kurzawa's winner. 

    Alessandro Florenzi's right-wing cross was deflected into the left-back's path and he powered home a fine volley from eight yards to secure PSG's 10th win in 11 games against Angers.

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.