Pep Guardiola defends Raheem Sterling over Shakhtar Donetsk penalty award
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By Matthew Treadwell
Last Updated: 09/11/18 9:55pm
Pep Guardiola has defended Raheem Sterling following the controversial penalty awarded against Shakhtar Donetsk in the Champions League on Wednesday.
The England winger - who signed a new long-term contract with the club on Friday - appeared to catch his studs in the turf during City's 6-0 thrashing of Shaktar at the Etihad only for referee Viktor Kassai to award a penalty to City midway through the first half.
Gabriel Jesus slotted home the spot-kick - the opening goal in a first senior hat-trick for the Brazil international - with Sterling subsequently receiving criticism in some quarters.
Guardiola believes that is unfair, however, and insists Sterling is becoming stronger as a player and an individual.
"It is unfair, I don't know why they should criticise Raheem. It was not diving. He tripped, it was a mistake," Guardiola said of the decision ahead of Sunday's derby with rivals Manchester United, live on Sky Sports.
"It was a bad decision by the referee, he didn't do that [dive].
"He's an incredibly nice guy, he has an incredible love for the locker room. He does absolutely everything on the pitch, every single game, 90 minutes.
"He made a mistake because he is 23 years old. He maybe goes so fast, so quickly, that the trip, he needs to do it slower.
"The comments people said about this action, I did not understand. Sometimes diving, sometimes making a bad decision. Everybody can do that.
"It will make him stronger. He is stronger than when we met each other in the first year.
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Jose Mourinho admits Manchester United cannot keep coming from behind ahead of a test against rivals Manchester City this weekend.
"Now he controls these kind of emotions much, much better. When you are 23 years old you are not a full person, or a full player.
"Sometimes we demand a lot from our players when still they are so young."