I trust Sterling 100% – Pellegrini

1 Mar

Sterling, 21, is City's second most expensive signing behind Kevin de Bruyne

Raheem Sterling is Manchester City’s second most expensive signing behind Kevin de Bruyne

Raheem Sterling will handle the pressure when he returns to Liverpool for the first time as a Manchester City player, says boss Manuel Pellegrini.

Sterling, 21, was booed by Reds fans as City won the League Cup on Sunday.

The England winger left Anfield in acrimonious circumstances last summer, after rejecting a £100,000-a-week deal.

“Players that cannot play in a difficult environment are not top players,” said Pellegrini. “I have 100% trust in him.”

Sterling, who became the most expensive English player ever when he joined City for £49m in July, will start Wednesday’s Premier League game.

“He’s a young man, a young player starting his career, but he knows how to deal with pressure,” added Pellegrini.

“He’ll receive the same treatment as he did at the weekend, but I’m sure he can play without a problem, and he’ll be a very important player, as he was in the last game.”

City beat Sterling’s former side on penalties in Sunday’s Capital One Cup final.

This time, league points are at stake as the Blues look to narrow the gap on leaders Leicester City.

Pellegrini’s side are nine points behind the Foxes but with a game in hand.

The most acrimonious transfer?

Sterling was under contract at Liverpool until 2017 but turned down the offer of an improved deal to extend his five-year stay at Anfield.

In an interview with BBC Sport in April, he denied being a “money-grabber”.

Liverpool were planning to discuss Sterling’s future with him but cancelled a meeting after agent Aidy Ward said his client would “definitely” not sign.

Ward was quoted as saying: “He’s not signing for £700,000, £800,000, £900,000 a week. He is not signing.”

Sterling asked to be left out of the club’s pre-season tour of the Far East and missed two days of training because of illness.

He was heavily criticised by some former Liverpool players for the way he handled his departure.


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