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Man City players being 'butchered', says Sterling

Manchester City star Raheem Sterling feels players are getting "butchered", calling for his team-mates to be protected better by referees.

Pep Guardiola's Premier League leaders have been on the wrong end of some dangerous tackles in recent matches, including an awful challenge by Matt Phillips on Brahim Diaz in City's 3-0 win over West Brom.

Sterling, whose team visit Burnley Saturday, said officials need to act to stamp out some of the tackles.

"There are going to be challenges that are badly timed and probably not all of them are intentional but at the same time if it's a dangerous tackle, it's a dangerous tackle," he told UK newspapers.

"I think the referees and officials need to cut these tackles out because as you can see some of the players are getting butchered out there and it's sad to see.

"I just feel we need to try and cut this out of the game – I find it a bit unfair at times."

With the World Cup just four months away, Sterling said it would be devastating if players missed the showpiece event due to a bad tackle.

"I do think we need to cut down on that because we've got a World Cup at the end of the year and majority of the players in the top flight and in our team will be playing in it," he said.

"It would be sad to see someone miss the tournament due to a silly tackle and someone get away with it."