Pep Guardiola has backed Raheem Sterling to return to form following the Manchester City star’s lack of goals in recent weeks.
Sterling has endured an underwhelming start to the season despite scoring five goals in all competitions, having failed to find the back of the net in each of his past six appearances for City.
It’s a notable drop in output for a player who has been one of the most productive players in the Premier League in recent campaigns, including scoring a career-best 31 goals in all competitions last season.
Sterling was left on the bench for last weekend’s 5-0 win over Burnley before returning in the Champions League against Porto in midweek, failing to fire once more in a goalless draw against the Portuguese side.
Guardiola has dismissed concerns over the form of the England international and has backed Sterling to return to form, insisting the 25-year-old will have a major impact on City’s hopes of success this season.
“Raheem is an incredibly important player for us,” said Guardiola at his pre-match press conference. “The season is long. His contribution this season was huge, it has been in the past and will be [again].
“We speak with the players every day. I am on the pitch with them, I talk with them a lot.”
Guardiola also offered his verdict on this weekend’s opponents Fulham, who have shown signs of improvement after a difficult start to their Premier League return.
The west London side secured their most impressive result of the season with a 2-1 victory at Leicester last weekend and the Spaniard admits he is aware of the threat posed by Scott Parker’s side at the Etihad tomorrow.
“Fulham are an encouraging team,” he added. “I enjoy watching them for the way they play and they made an incredible result winning at Leicester away. It’s not easy. We know the opponent we are going to face tomorrow.”