Pep Guardiola Says Manchester City's Raheem Sterling 'Can Still Improve'

Christopher Simpson@@CJSimpsonBRFeatured ColumnistOctober 2, 2019

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 01:  Raheem Sterling of Manchester City celebrates after scoring the opening goal during the UEFA Champions League group C match between Manchester City and Dinamo Zagreb at Etihad Stadium on October 01, 2019 in Manchester, United Kingdom. (Photo by Alex Livesey - Danehouse/Getty Images)
Alex Livesey - Danehouse/Getty Images

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola believes Raheem Sterling still has room to improve after he played a decisive role in their 2-0 win over Dinamo Zagreb in the UEFA Champions League on Tuesday. 

Sterling had a hand in both goals, scoring the first and assisting the second, to maintain City's winning start in Europe.

Per MailOnline's Jack Gaughan, Guardiola said of the forward:

"In a few years he'll be a better player than today. The feeling we had when we arrived is that he played good, but it was like he didn't care.

"Now his movement is there. He can still improve his finishing. Raheem is a player that with a cross he is always there. He has this talent. Always there, he has that feeling."

Sterling came on after 55 minutes with the score level at 0-0.

He broke the deadlock 10 minutes later when he finished off a neat team move from close range, and he set up Phil Foden to score the second deep into injury time (U.S. and UK only, respectively):

Bleacher Report Live @brlive

ManchesterCityBeautifulSoccer.mp4 https://t.co/YL1WttPDTm

Bleacher Report Live @brlive

Sterling ➡️ Foden ➡️ top of the group 👕 https://t.co/hJhuqhehTW

The goal was his ninth of the season in 10 games, while the assist was his second.

He has become an increasingly decisive player for the Sky Blues at the top level:

OptaJoe @OptaJoe

18 - Raheem Sterling has been directly involved in 18 goals in his last 16 home appearances in the Champions League for Manchester City (11 goals, seven assists), scoring or assisting at least once in 12 of his last 13 such matches. Impressive. https://t.co/u3uQTlVicK

In Sterling's final two seasons at Liverpool and first two at City, he ended each campaign with a tally of either 10 or 11 goals.

His positioning, movement and ruthlessness in front of goal has come on leaps and bounds in recent years.

The England international bagged a total of 48 goals for City in the 2017-18 and 2018-19 seasons, more than he'd scored in the previous four seasons combined.

He has enjoyed an excellent start to this season, and if he can maintain his form this could be his most prolific campaign yet, beating the 25 goals he managed in all competitions last season.

Sterling is already among the best players in the world. He's still only 24, so as Guardiola observed, he still might not be the finished article.