City toil at Southampton pleases Sterling

Manchester City were back to their best in terms of work rate off the ball in the win at Southampton, according to Raheem Sterling.

Raheem Sterling praised Manchester City for doing the hard yards in their 3-1 Premier League win at Southampton. 

Pep Guardiola's side headed into the game on the back of consecutive defeats to Crystal Palace and Leicester City - results that saw them fall 10 points behind leaders Liverpool. 

Goals from David Silva and Sergio Aguero either side of a James Ward-Prowse own goal got the reigning champions back on track, but only after a scare late in the first half. 

As in the Leicester and Palace games, City opened the scoring before conceding an equaliser – this time to Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, who was later sent off for a rash lunge on Fernandinho. 

England winger Sterling felt improved application helped the visitors to recover from their recent blip. 

"We've had two difficult results to take. We wanted to give ourselves a chance and that's what we did, not just in terms of our football but off the ball as well," he said. 

"The last three games we started well but then it's been sloppy. Today, in terms of our mentality even before we got to the stadium, we were full of fighting spirit."

Sterling, who is set to face former club Liverpool in a blockbuster clash on Thursday, added: "We had a point to prove for ourselves.

"We've had two difficult results and we wanted to bounce back and we did it brilliantly. The way we ran on and off the ball was brilliant."