Pellegrini backs Sterling to improve at City

Manchester City forked out almost £50 million for England international forward Raheem Sterling last month.

Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini believes Raheem Sterling will justify his hefty price tag and improve on his goalscoring return for the Premier League contenders.

City prised Sterling to Manchester from Liverpool in a deal believed to be rising to £49million last month - making him the most expensive English player in history and the club's record signing.

Sterling produced an assured performance on debut as City defeated West Brom 3-0 in their Premier League opener on Monday, having two good opportunities to open his account at The Hawthorns.

The 20-year-old England international will undoubtedly face a greater challenge on Sunday against defending champions Chelsea, who were reportedly interested in Sterling before City completed the deal.

And Pellegrini has backed Sterling to repay the faith and transfer fee, after scoring just seven goals in 35 Premier League appearances for the Reds last term.

"It is always important for young players to play with good players. You can improve, the same way Sterling did with Luis Suarez or Steven Gerrard for Liverpool," said Pellegrini.

"Here he will play with David Silva, Sergio Aguero, Yaya Toure - players that will make him improve in a lot of ways. Young players always learn from important players.

"Sterling will be a very dangerous player. Maybe we were criticised for the amount we paid for him but I am sure he will demonstrate during the year, especially against the big teams, why he was valued so much.

"Last year he scored 11 in all competitions. I am sure this season he will improve."