Pep Guardiola has expressed astonishment at Raheem Sterling’s declaration that he is open to leaving Manchester City in order to gain more playing time, and has stated that the striker is free to leave if he so desires.
Sterling lost his starting spot towards the end of last season and announced on Thursday that he may leave the champs, maybe to play abroad. Guardiola, who has 18 months left on his contract, was queried about the statements.
“I didn’t know it and I think the club neither,” he said. “Raheem is our player, hopefully he will [continue to] be an incredibly important player for us. I don’t know if he wants to play more game time like Riyad [Mahrez], who doesn’t play and he doesn’t complain, like João [Cancelo] doesn’t play and he doesn’t complain.
“Some players complain because they want to play all the time. I cannot assure them, I spoke to them many times about that – I cannot assure how many minutes each one plays. Always they have to speak on the pitch. Not Raheem, all of them. They know they are going to play minutes. I’m not a guy that plays only 11 players; all of them are involved.”
Guardiola suggested that if Sterling is not happy he is free to depart. “What I want from Raheem and everyone is they have to be satisfied to be here and delighted to be in this club,” he said. “If that’s not the case they are free to take the best decision for the player and his family. Not just Raheem, all of them want to play every game but I cannot assure them. They have to improve every training session and be there on the pitch and try to be happy there.
“Raheem played the final of the Champions League. He’s such an important player for us, many players are so important. But I have to treat Cole Palmer the same like Kevin De Bryune. Why should I treat Kevin De Bruyne differently than Cole Palmer? Both have parents, have friends …”
Guardiola was asked whether Sterling had disrespected the team with his admission. “He would never do anything to damage the team or his mates,” said the manager. “When I have something to say to Raheem I invite him into my office and speak with him. I never used the cameras to send a message to a player.
“People change, you know? You have highs and lows in a career, that’s normal. But the messages I’m talking about are not for Raheem – forget about it – when I’m talking, it is for all the players.
“I will let you play every single week if you score three goals. I had a player in my period as a manager who always scored three goals [Lionel Messi] and always he played. I’m silly, but not silly enough to not let you pay when you score three goals every time. No, no, no.”
Guardiola said Ferran Torres would be out for between two and a half and three months with a metatarsal injury the Spain forward suffered on international duty.
source : Guardian sport