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Manchester City 4-2 Borussia Mönchengladbach : Pellegrini Celebrates Sterling's Birthday and Winning Group D

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Raheem Sterling was deployed as a "false nine" on his 21st birthday and he rewarded his manager with a vintage display - 2 goals and an assist . Manchester City Manager Manuel Pelegrini reflected postgame on Sterling's impact and the team effort which secured first place in Group D for the Blues.

"It was his birthday - I told him before the game that the minimum he had to do today was score two goals.

"I'm not joking - I told him that.

"I think it's important for him to score those goals tonight.""If we play the way we did in the second half we can play against any team. It's the way we normally work - it's the way I like us to play.

"It seems like it's faster but it's slower.

"For me, the most important thing tonight, above finishing top of the group, is that we returned to being the team we normally are.

"We improved a lot in the second half - we arranged it and once we were losing 2-1, we didn't concede one chance. They haven't lost since they lost to us and they beat Bayern Munich so it wasn't easy.""I think the hard work we did already - I always said the most important thing was to qualify and it's not easy to do it,"

"After that it was important to finish in the top spot and we did it tonight.

"It's better to finish first but all important teams will be in Round of 16 - if you want to win the title you have to play against the biggest teams.

"I always use the example of when I was at Malaga - everyone wanted Malaga but we did very well - we won't have an easy match.

"Of course it's better not to draw Barcelona or Real Madrid at this stage but it's only one round we avoid them."
"Last year we played very well against Bayern and Roma but this is one of the best nights we've had in Europe. We did very well against Sevilla, the whole game but tonight we were excellent in the second half."

The Blues will now avoid Real Madrid, Barcelona and Bayern Munich in the Round of 16. The most problematic potential matchup would be against PSG.