Manuel Pellegrini has confirmed that Manchester City winger Raheem Sterling will start versus former club Liverpool on Wednesday and has backed him to handle the pressure.
Sterling, who missed two guilt-edged chances in Sunday’s penalty shoot-out win over Liverpool in the Capital One Cup final, was derided every time he touched the ball at Wembley. But Manchester City boss Pellegrini has no concerns over the mindset of the England man and says he will start again against the Reds as City aim for a quick-fire double.
Sterling, 21, who moved to the Etihad Stadium last summer for £44million under controversial circumstances, is expected to receive a hot reception on his first return to Anfield.
“We’ll wait and see the starting XI but one player I’m sure will start is Raheem Sterling,” said Pellegrini.
“He’s a young man. He’s starting his career and knows how to deal with the pressure. He will receive the same treatment but I’m absolutely sure he can deal with it.
“I don’t have any worries. It is important for him to play under pressure. Big players have to deal with that, it doesn’t matter where or against who they play. I’ve 100 per cent trust in Raheem and I’m sure he will be an important player during the game.
“The way he played the other day he demonstrated that he worked for 95 minutes, always concentrating on the game. He was very difficult one-on-one, he caused a lot of problems for [Liverpool right-back Nathaniel] Clyne. I can understand that he can play under pressure.
“Players that cannot play in difficult environments will never be a top player.”