Soccer-Guardiola urges Sterling to raise game further after improved showing

FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - Premier League - Manchester City v Everton - Etihad Stadium, Manchester, Britain - November 21, 2021 Manchester City's Raheem Sterling in action REUTERS/Craig Brough

(Reuters) - Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola praised Raheem Sterling's improved displays in recent matches, but said on Friday that the England winger can get even better as he looks to nail down a place in the starting side.

Sterling had a fine outing at the European Championship with the national team, but has largely struggled for consistency at club level this season.

However, he scored two goals in his previous two outings, with Wednesday's equaliser against Paris St Germain in the Champions League inspiring City to a 2-1 victory.

"It's good for wingers to score, get assists, he's decisive. Still, he knows he can do better one-v-one, but this is a step to come back to his best form," Guardiola told reporters ahead of Sunday's Premier League home game against West Ham United.

"It doesn't depend on individual (success) it's the team, be on the pitch when the manager gives you the opportunity do your best."

Guardiola sympathised with English players who have barely had any rest since the European Championship final in July, but added it was a matter of going "back to the basics."

"They had two or three weeks, came back again, and then the Community Shield. You cannot imagine how difficult it is for the players every three days. It's so demanding," Guardiola added.

"So you have to come back to the basics. Sometimes you help the team with the defensive work and step by step you come back. When one player doesn't play good, I don't doubt they have the skills. Do the basics and step by step you'll come back."

Guardiola said City would take a late call on the injured Jack Grealish and Phil Foden, saying both players had returned to individual training after missing the PSG game.

(Reporting by Aadi Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Shrivathsa Sridhar)

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