Sterling form encourages Guardiola

Raheem Sterling faces a fight for his Manchester City starting spot this season, but Pep Guardiola has given him an early boost.

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola says he has been impressed by the form of Raheem Sterling in pre-season.

City fell to a 3-2 defeat against Arsenal on Sunday despite scoring in each half through strikers Sergio Aguero and Kelechi Iheanacho.  

Sterling's cross set up Aguero's strike in Gothenburg and Guardiola is pleased with how the former Liverpool winger has fared in his appearances playing from the right-hand side ahead of the Spaniard's first campaign at the helm.

The new City manager's praise will come as a boost to the 21-year-old Sterling, who faces increased competition for a first-team spot this season following the signings of Nolito and Leroy Sane.

"The two goals we scored came because we attacked the byline," Guardiola was quoted by Sky Sports after the loss to the Gunners.

"It was two crosses - one from Sterling and one from Jesus [Navas]. Today all the typical players go inside but I like to attack [the] byline.

"Of course Sterling likes to play on the left, but that is when it is good to know the players. The last two games he has played on the right and he did it really well.

"All the players are going to play an important role so we cannot judge after three friendly games which players are going to play all the season. 

"There are a lot of games and players cannot play every three days so the players who are ready will play more."