Pep Guardiola heaps praise on "incredible" Sterling amid contract talks

Pep Guardiola heaps praise on

Pep Guardiola heaps praise on "incredible" Sterling amid contract talks

You can easily imagine they might have been Mark Hughes' parting words to his Saints side as they left the changing room to take on the might of Manchester City. "We concede a lot of corner kicks and with the best taker in the league [James Ward-Prowse] like Southampton had".

Among a dazzling array of midfield options, it is the often unheralded Fernandinho who Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has relied on most in another stunning start to the season for the Premier League champions.

Sterling was integral again for the third, with his cross nudged on by Sane, and Silva smashed home on the volley.

Kevin De Bruyne is out with ligament damage and goalkeeper Claudio Bravo remains a long-term absentee. Ilkay Gundogan and Nicolás Otamendi have both been declared fit, though not necessarily ready to step straight back into the side after being sidelined for several weeks by injury.

"Shakhtar is the most important because it's the first one".

"After Liverpool dropped points it was important that we won", he added. "We found ourselves 3-0 down and to all extents and purposes the game is gone", said the Welshman.

Despite the emphatic nature of City's victory, Guardiola admitted his side's defending can improve after Southampton squandered chances to narrow the deficit.

Manchester City host Shakhtar at the Etihad tonight with two stars returning to the squad ahead of the clash. However, Ivan Ordets, Maksym Malyshev and Fernando are all unlikely to feature for the Ukrainians.

He would have known, as would the team, that they were in for a hard afternoon regardless, but that if you let City get away in the early stages then the result is a foregone conclusion.

The game against Shakhtar comes four days before a huge derby with rivals Manchester United, but Walker insists City are only focusing on Shakhtar.

Shakhtar Donetsk faced 24 shots in their 0-3 defeat to Man City on MD3, the most they'd faced in a Champions League game since September 2015 against Real Madrid (26).

It took a further six minutes for City to double the lead, Bernardo Silva setting free Sterling on the right and the England forward selflessly squaring for Aguero to hammer in from close range.

A win, coupled with a loss for Hoffenheim, would see City progress.

Palace's hopes of securing a crucial point vanished when they conceded two goals in five second-half minutes.

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