Raheem Sterling Ready to Break 16-Game Manchester United Scoring Duck

Rob Blanchette@@_Rob_BFeatured ColumnistDecember 6, 2019

Manchester City's Raheem Sterling celebrates after scoring his side's first goal during the English Premier League soccer match between Manchester City and Aston Villa at Etihad stadium in Manchester, England, Saturday, Oct. 26, 2019. (AP Photo/Rui Vieira)
Rui Vieira/Associated Press

Raheem Sterling has said a change in mentality will help him break his long-standing scoring failure against Manchester United

Manchester City host their derby rivals at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday, with the Premier League champions in need of victory as they trail leaders Liverpool by nine points.

Sterling has not scored against the Red Devils during his nine-year career, spanning 16 games for City and former club Liverpool.

Speaking to Sky Sports, Sterling said his ruthless mentality for scoring goals has developed and it will help him break his United duck. When asked if the unwanted record affects him, the England international said:

"I'd say no and yes. Firstly no, because I didn't take scoring seriously but yes because now I do.

"To see that stat that I haven't scored in 16 games against them, it's a wake-up call. I won't put pressure on myself and will play my game looking with an eye to score. I'll be taking a lot more shots than I usually do."

Dave Thompson/Associated Press

Sterling emerged as a creative winger at Anfield, but his time under Pep Guardiola has seen him become a regular goalscorer for the Sky Blues.

Despite not hitting top form yet this season, Sterling has scored 13 goals in the Premier League and UEFA Champions League in 19 appearances.

His goal ratio continues to improve as he develops his striking instincts alongside Sergio Aguero.

Sterling admitted criticism of his finishing has helped him focus on becoming a predator in the box:

"It was a subject I kept hearing after games that I don't score enough and I'm not good enough in front of goal. When I first came onto the scene I wanted to show I had ability and that I was a good player. But I was never trying to be greedy in trying to win matches by myself. It was a wake up call hearing all the critics saying he can't score goals, so I thought I'd show them that I can. It's something I started to work on and have belief.

"It's a shift in mentality: in the dressing room I'd always think 'what am I going to do to the right back today - shall I nutmeg him? Maybe a step over?

"But now it's a straight mentality of trying to score and where a goal can come from."

Rui Vieira/Associated Press

Both Manchester clubs will start the derby off the back of strong wins in their last matches. City romped to a 4-1 Premier League win at Burnley, and United defeated Tottenham Hotspur 2-1 at Old Trafford.

Sterling was substituted after just 71 minutes at Turf Moor, allowing the forward a rest before Saturday's clash.

Liverpool's incredible 15-game unbeaten run in the league this term has applied added pressure to City's campaign, and Guardiola's men have been more inconsistent than expected.

The Reds undertake a favourable visit to Bournemouth on Saturday and will be expected to beat the Cherries, who have won just once in their last 10 in all competitions.

Eddie Howe's team are coming off the back of four consecutive Premier League losses, and Liverpool will attempt to flex their muscle on the south coast against a failing opponent.