Pep Guardiola insists Raheem Sterling can improve upon his hat-trick heroics in Manchester City’s 3-1 win over Watford.
Sterling’s quickfire treble early in the second half, which was kick-started by a controversial offside call in his favor, helped City to preserve their one-point lead over Liverpool at the top of the Premier League table with eight games remaining.
The England winger has once again been in superb form for Guardiola’s side this term, scoring 15 goals and supplying nine assists in 27 Premier League appearances to place himself in player-of-the-season contention.
But Guardiola felt Sterling’s showing before half-time was some way below his increasingly brilliant best.
“Raheem can do better. He scored three goals, we’re delighted, but he can do better,” said the former Barcelona and Bayern Munich boss.
“The first half was not the best performance from him but it’s good when not playing at the top level to be consistent and score the three goals. It is the most important thing and we need that. The first half, he can do better.”
Sterling’s place in City’s long-term future was secured last November when he penned a contract extension until 2023, part of a policy at City that has seen the likes of Kevin De Bruyne, Gabriel Jesus, Aymeric Laporte, and Ederson renew ahead of schedule.