Pep Guardiola has hinted he will rotate his Manchester City team with the busy festive schedule and the Manchester derby on the horizon, while insisting Raheem Sterling still needs to improve despite his winner in the hard-fought win over Huddersfield on Sunday.
City were made to work as hard as they have done all season on their trip to Yorkshire where they fought back from 1-0 down to nick three points and maintain their eight-point lead at the top.
Sterling was instrumental in that turnaround as he won the penalty just after the half-time break which saw Sergio Aguero draw them level before Gabriel Jesus’ shot was deflected into the winger to score the winner.
But Guardiola has urged caution on Sterling and insisted that he is still learning, while talking up the chances of those who weren’t involved against Huddersfield facing Southampton on Wednesday night.
“The way we want to play as a team helps individual performances,” Guardiola said. “Like I said many times, Sterling is still young and there are a lot of things he can do better.
“Not just Raheem, yesterday in training the players who didn’t play against Huddersfield trained amazing. For all of the players, including those who do not play regularly, I am so happy with their behaviour in training sessions.”
With the hamstring injury to John Stones keeping him out at the moment, Guardiola also stressed the importance of Eliaquim Mangala, who has only featured six times during the season, over the festive period, with City due to play nine times in the month of December.
“Mangala is a player for us and is going to stay here” he added. “In the winter break and the summer break we are going to ask everyone if they are happy or not.”