Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola was full of praise for Raheem Sterling, after the England forward scored the Sky Blues' opener in their 2-0 away win over Arsenal on Sunday. 

The reigning champions began their Premier League title defence in emphatic fashion and could have won by more than two goals.


Quoted by the Daily Telegraph, the City boss hailed Sterling's contribution to his side's comfortable win. "We needed that guy in that position, and he did it well except the last 25 minutes when he was very tired," said Guardiola.

Sterling is under contract with City until 2020, but is yet to agree on an extension with the club. It is believed that he wants a salary of approximately £300,000 per week - £100,000 more than England teammate Harry Kane's weekly earnings at Tottenham.

Guardiola insisted that he has not spoken to Sterling about the player's contract negotiations. "For the record, I'm not a sports director, not even a manager. I'm a trainer," said the Catalan, explaining: "I try to make a good team spirit in the locker room and win games."


In any case, Guardiola made it clear that he is keen to retain Sterling's services. "We are delighted with him and would like Raheem to stay. We'll do our effort to make him feel we count on him. And we count on him."

Sterling scored 23 times in all competitions for the champions last season, including 18 league goals. However, the 23-year-old has yet to replicate his prolific club form at international level, failing to find the net in any of England's FIFA World Cup games this summer.

Nevertheless, Sterling's club manager was quick to defend his performances in Russia. "He made some very good things in the World Cup, moving space and creating for others," insisted Guardiola, adding: "I'm sure in the European qualifiers he will score goals for his country, England."