(Reuters) – Manchester City must be wary of a dominant Tottenham Hotspur side that elevate their game for big matches, the hosts’ midfielder Raheem Sterling said ahead of Saturday’s Premier League clash at the Etihad stadium.
Tottenham, who last lost away at City in October 2014, are 18 points behind the league leaders and have recorded back-to-back wins to climb to fourth position.
Spurs also progressed to the Champions League last 16 as group winners, recording an impressive 3-1 win over holders Real Madrid in the process, and Sterling has warned his team mates to be at their best.
“They are a great team. In their game against Real Madrid they were fantastic and they really turn up in big games,” Sterling told the BBC.
“Last season when we played them at White Hart Lane they were fantastic – aggressive, strong, dominant. They play good football and have players that can score goals.
“Harry (Kane), Dele (Alli) that I play with, they are ruthless and also Son (Heung-min) – these are massive players that they have, so it will be a massive game.”
Kane and Alli have scored two goals each in Tottenham’s last four league games against City, resulting in three wins for the north London side and a 2-2 draw at the Etihad last season.
Sterling, 23, has been a major factor in City’s 15-game winning streak in the league, scoring nine goals and providing five assists in 15 appearances this season, but the England international believes there is room for improvement.
“I am always analysing myself, I am always critical of myself and always trying to improve,” Sterling added.
“I have been thinking about (how good I can be) since I was 17. Something good happens or something bad, I think ‘what can I do better, what didn’t I do this year’…
“I’m trying to make the box, trying to be more ruthless, more clinical and trying to decide games… As a person I like to challenge myself and say ‘I need to get better at this’.”
(Reporting by Aditi Prakash in Bengaluru; editing by Sudipto Ganguly)