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Raheem Sterling ignoring "unfair criticism", talks Pep Guardiola influence, squad competition

The City winger spoke prior to the Champions League match against Gladbach

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Manchester City Training Session and Press Conference Photo by Dave Thompson/Getty Images

One of the best players of the young Pep Guardiola Era at Manchester City has been Raheem Sterling, who finally began to prove his worth after becoming the most expensive Englishman of all time last season. The City winger was definitely not at his best in his debut campaign at the Etihad and received plenty of criticism from everyone, but Guardiola's arrival instantly led to a better Sterling, who attacks all the time and is scoring goals.

Sterling hopes to carry his form into the Champions League group stage, and the first test comes in the form of Bundesliga contenders Borussia Mönchengladbach, who have great defenders that will test Raheem's qualities on Tuesday. Sterling will look to impress against the Germans and continue to answer the critics with his performances on the pitch.

The player's great early form has a lot to do with the impact from his manager, and Sterling is quick to recognize Guardiola's help in his improved game. He also believes that Guardiola's help and the quality of City's squad will reap great results this season:

"I got a lot of criticism last year which I though was unfair because a few games where I made my mark was in the Champions League. I equalled my best scoring season last year with eleven. For me it was a massive learning step last year, and Pep coming this year was a massive help and for him to be phoning me before I met him was a massive boost. He said he watched me when I was at Liverpool."

"With a manager like this and squad of players we've got, the Champions League and Premier League is something we should always be challenging for. Each day and each week we are getting better and stronger. We're closer than ever - he has brought the players really close together."

Source: UEFA.com

Sterling also says that his good football this season has a lot to do with the internal competition within the squad. The arrival of summer signings Nolito and Leroy Sané has increased Guardiola's options on the wings, and Sterling immediately saw he needed to step up his level to be a key member of the squad, and that has certainly happened.

“It raises any players’ game when there’s four or five players who can play your position.

“You always want to be on the pitch, not in the stands. Leroy’s come in and he’s a really good guy who I speak to a lot but obviously he plays the same position - hopefully we can both be on the pitch at the same time but we have to work hard and show why we deserve to be involved.”

Source: ManCity.com