Raheem Sterling insists Manchester City must beat Chelsea at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday in order to make a ‘statement’ of their title-winning credentials.
The visit of Antonio Conte’s side will be the first time this season City have faced any of the current top four teams in the Premier League.
Sterling admits that recent performances from Pep Guardiola’s side have been more about battling than high quality football – but he says the Spaniard is preparing his squad for the challenge of Chelsea.
The Blues have been in superb form, winning seven games on the spin whilst conceding just one goal, but Sterling says only a victory will suffice for City.
“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,” Sterling told Sky Sports.
The Citizens have not been at their best in recent wins over Crystal Palace and Burnley but England midfielder Sterling feels those wins show the spirit and determination that exists within the squad to win games at all costs.
“We probably haven’t played the football we would have liked in certain games, but what matters is getting the three points,” he says.
“For us to stay in the game against Crystal Palace and then come from behind against Burnley is a massive statement to show we are not giving up.
If teams make it hard for us we will keep on fighting.” Manchester City are 2.10 to beat Chelsea at the Etihad Stadium, while Sterling is 9.00 to get the opening goal.