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Dublin: 1 °C Monday 19 March, 2018

Premier League title City's to lose, but Sterling wary of United charge

The winger was speaking to BBC’s Football Focus programme.

RAHEEM STERLING BELIEVES the Premier League title is Manchester City’s to lose, but does not expect rivals Manchester United to give up the fight.

Pep Guardiola’s side stretched their lead at the summit to 11 points with a 2-1 win in last Sunday’s derby at Old Trafford – an advantage they consolidated by beating Swansea City 4-0 in midweek.

Tottenham promise to offer a tough test to City’s all-time English record of 15 consecutive wins when they travel to the Etihad Stadium on Saturday.

And England winger Sterling, who has excelled with 13 goals in all competitions this season, knows City can ill-afford to let their standards drop.

“We’re 11 points clear at the top of the table. If we win all our game we win the title so, if you put it that way, it’s ours to lose,” said the 23-year-old in an interview with BBC Sport’s Football Focus.

“If we try to win as much as possible we have a good chance. It’s still early days, it’s still only December. We’ve got great opponents in this league.

“United are going to be doing everything they can to try and catch us and hope we slip. We just need to keep that mentality going.

Raucous celebrations from the City dressing room were widely reported to be the cause of an alleged incident in the Old Trafford tunnel after last Sunday’s match and the Football Association has asked both clubs for their observations.

But Sterling believes this buoyant atmosphere and the strong bonds forged within Guardiola’s squad are a key factor in City’s success.

“The most important thing within this team is probably the belief in the dressing room,” he said.

“The manager sets a plan for each game, he gives us the blueprint. Then you can see everyone else buying into it. Everyone is on board.

“There’s not one player who doesn’t know exactly what we’ve got to do on the pitch, where we need to be. Everyone knows that if someone is out on the pitch getting smashed about they go directly over and help their team-mates.

“There is a togetherness in the team. We all try to fight for each other but, at the same time, we try to play some awesome football that the manager helps us to do.”

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