Sunday wasn’t Raheem Sterling’s greatest individual display as an attacker, but the 23-year-old again demonstrated why he’s such a vital part of Pep Guardiola’s side — and completely unmatched in his skill set within the England national team — by retaining possession in difficult areas and constantly pulling Manchester United’s well-organized, pressing defensive unit this way and that with his array of clever flicks, dribbles and one-touch passing.
Jose “That’s the way people that don’t understand football analyze football, is with stats” Mourinho won’t want to hear it — and the United boss isn’t wrong in asserting that the game “was there” until the 86th minute — but City’s fluidity (with 65% possession and a 92% success rate on 700 passes) certainly didn’t make the game look all that close.
United’s only shot on target was the penalty that was gifted to them by Ederson, whereas all three of City’s goals were of the highest order.
In the dying embers of the match, City outlined its superiority when Sterling, Leroy Sane and Phil Foden embarrassed United’s already beleaguered defenders in their own corner with a remarkable display of triangular keep away.
— jplrlg (@JupilerDaniel) November 11, 2018
Sterling’s step-overs during the clinic irked the gentlemanly Juan Mata, and Pep Guardiola was quick to pay a visit to Sterling after the final whistle.
This is why Pep Guardiola is the best coach in the world because even after a great win he still has that desire to tell Sterling what he could do better pic.twitter.com/3rfFreAAZ5— Brady Newstead (@bradynewstead) November 11, 2018
Here’s what Guardiola had to say after the match regarding the final incident:
“I like a lot when he played. The best way to defend the result is to keep the ball. It’s the best way. And they did it, with Leroy (Sane) and Phil (Foden), they did it.
“That situation, with two or three minutes left, they control absolutely. It’s not just the best way defending back, because everything can happen. But he made some movements with the legs, we can avoid it, but he’s young and he’s going to improve.”
There’s not much here other than more evidence of the widening divide between the two clubs. There was a time when the roles were totally reversed…
So why doesn’t the English press talk about how Sterling’s antics were nothing compared to Cristiano Ronaldo vs. City in 2005? I think we know why.