Winger Raheem Sterling has urged Manchester City to declare a statement of intent with a victory over Premier League leaders Chelsea at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday.
With only a point separating the sides after 13 games, City will hope to bring an end to Chelsea’s seven-game winning streak to jump to the top of the standings, at least until second-placed Liverpool face Bournemouth on Sunday.”We want to be competing with teams like Chelsea at the end of the season, so this game is a massive one for us,” Sterling told Sky Sports.
City have not only progressed to the knockout stages of the Champions League but are also well-placed to launch an assault of the league title, sitting third in the table on 30 points.”It’s a game we know we have to compete in from the first minute and we can’t let slip. We will be fully focused and ready to challenge and not give them an easy game,” Sterling added.
“It’s a game we need to win to be taken even more seriously and make a statement. They are playing great football, scoring lots of goals and conceding very few, but we are fully focused and the manager is getting us ready and prepared.”
Currently on a six-game unbeaten run in all competitions, City will hope to continue their fine form as they face a challenging December, with matches against Chelsea, Arsenal, Liverpool and champions Leicester City.”Christmas every year seems to be the most important period and this time around it is massive,” Sterling said.”We have some of the big teams so it’s a period where we need to be fully focused and know exactly what we need to do to come out in good shape after Christmas.”
Sterling has netted four times in 12 league starts under manager Pep Guardiola but has fallen away in terms of production since his early season exploits, with his last goal coming in September. The 21-year-old England international said he hoped to add consistency to his game.”I need to be a player who helps the team on a regular basis, not just once every few months. That’s what I am trying to do, it will take time but I will get there,” he added.