Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola said Raheem Sterling’s aggression had set the tone for Sunday’s 1-0 League Cup victory over Tottenham Hotspur.
Sterling had been in and out of the line-up due a drop off in form and Sunday’s game was just his fourth start in City’s last 11 matches in all competitions.
But the 26-year-old was at his best at Wembley as he tormented the Spurs’ defence, winning the free kick that led to City’s goal scored by Aymeric Laporte.
Sterling also came close to getting on the scoresheet in the first half but was denied by Toby Alderweireld’s block.
“Amazing,” Guardiola said of the England forward. “He showed the opponent we came here to win the game. He was incredibly aggressive.
“(Serge) Aurier is a fast defender and they are incredibly good at defending shots and the blocks. (Hugo) Lloris made some incredible saves but he was brilliant.”
Guardiola said the win, which sealed a record-equalling fourth successive League Cup triumph, felt even more special as it came in front of 2 000 City supporters.
“We missed them,” Guardiola said. “It wasn’t full but they represented all the people. To share it with them, it sounds better.
“The reason we do that is for them.”
City visit Paris St Germain for the first leg of their Champions League semifinal on Wednesday.