Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has hailed forward Raheem Sterling for stepping up to take a penalty and score his 100th Premier League goal in Saturday’s 1-0 win over Wolverhampton Wanderers at the Etihad Stadium.
Sterling’s goal was his fifth in the last eight games in all competitions and highlighted the England international’s return to top form after falling out of favour with Guardiola earlier in the season.
Guardiola said that Sterling, who had missed his previous three penalties, only took the spot kick for the league leaders as their first choices were not on the pitch.
“Our best taker by far is Riyad Mahrez. He has shown under pressure the quality he has but wasn’t on the pitch,” Guardiola told reporters. “Ilkay Gundogan is another, but he’s struggling with his back and hasn’t performed well in the last two games.
“In that moment they chose… Bernardo Silva is a good taker and Rodri could do it, but Raheem showed the personality to take it and score a goal and these are the values I appreciate.”
Guardiola said he was impressed with the haul of Sterling, who turned 27 a few days ago and also praised goalkeeper Ederson who bagged his 100th clean sheet for the club in his 212th game.
“It’s a great number at Raheem’s age, 100 goals is a lot. Like the 100 clean sheets from Eddie, but congratulations to both and to the team,” Guardiola added.
“Players are always important, but they sometimes drop. They have highs and lows. I’m unfair sometimes, they play well and I don’t play them, I don’t have an excuse.
“Raheem has scored goals lately and is so committed and aggressive… he has been incredibly important over the years. But players have to perform every single game.”