Raheem Sterling’s stunning form has come after Pep Guardiola advised him to curb his antics on social media.
The Manchester City winger has been one of the standout performers for the runaway Premier League leaders – scoring 13 goals, including three successive match-winning strikes.
His brilliant 96th-minute effort against Southampton on Wednesday maintained City’s 19-game winning run in all competitions – and their 11-point lead at the top of the table.
“If the reason why he’s scored a lot of goals is because he’s out of social media then I’ll say it to all the players!” said the City manager. “It’s not about that.
Guardiola doesn’t entirely attribute Sterling’s form to lowering his profile on sites like Twitter and Snapchat – but he believes it has contributed to it.
“I think before he was more active and now he’s more passive.
“They are free to do whatever they want. Sometimes they put a picture up and after that they have 30 million comments criticising them and you can avoid it.
“People insult you and people criticise you because you show a picture or Snapchat. If you want to do it, there is no problem.
Sterling has been outstanding
Sterling’s form represents a remarkable turnaround for a player who looked like the potential fall guy when City bid £60m for Alexis Sanchez in the summer.
While Guardiola personally blocked Arsenal’s attempts to include the England international in the deal – he still looked to be one of the likeliest to suffer as a result of Sanchez’ arrival.
While Guardiola has overseen his development this season, he refuses to take the credit.
“He played amazing, That’s why city paid a lot of money. All credit to him.
“It’s the same when we try to help one player, I don’t feel guility if he’s not playing good.
Guardiola still intends to move for the Chilean, with City ready to offer £20m in January.
But Sterling’s position looks far more secure now, with City looking to extend his contract, which still has two and half years to run.
“At the same time I don’t feel responsibility for Raheem playing good.
“Of course we are so happy. He’s a nice guy, loved in the locker room, stable, less into social media, more focused on football and his private life.