Raheem Sterling deflected the personal praise after settling a game in Manchester City’s favour with a late goal for the second time in a week.
The England international grabbed the 86th-minute winner as City beat Huddersfield 2-1 at the John Smith’s Stadium on Sunday to restore their eight-point lead at the top of the Premier League.
It was Sterling’s 12th goal of the season and, although it was highly fortunate as the ball rebounded off him from a Jonas Lossl save and looped in, the timing is becoming a common theme.
Sterling scored an 88th-minute winner against Feyenoord in the Champions League last Tuesday while Everton, Bournemouth, Watford, Shakhtar Donetsk and Napoli have also conceded to him in the last 10 minutes of games.
“I’m just happy to help my team in the circumstances,” said Sterling. “It was 1-1 and luckily it hit my thigh and went in. That is the most important thing, the ball going in the back of the net.
“I thought we dug in deep and kept playing our game. We knew chances would come. It was just down to us to take them and that is what we have done.
“Credit to the boys. We pushed on and got the three points I thought we deserved.”
The victory was City’s 11th in succession in the Premier League and a club record 17th straight in all competitions.
It was one they were made to work hard for as Huddersfield successfully blunted their attack. The Terriers did not register a shot on target all game but defended deep, looked a threat on the break and took the lead with a Nicolas Otamendi own goal on the stroke of half-time.
City replied with a Sergio Aguero penalty and hit the bar through Leroy Sane but appeared to be running out of ideas before Sterling got lucky late on.
Sterling said: “These are games that count, when you are down, not just the ones where it’s where it’s 3-0, 4-0. When you’re losing 1-0 at half-time you’ve got to really dig deep and get the points.”
Despite the loss, Huddersfield emerged with much credit. The Terriers, who beat Manchester United last month, remain in a healthy-looking 11th in the table and look forward to Wednesday’s trip to Arsenal with confidence.
Manager David Wagner said: “When you play against Man City or Arsenal we are not stupid and we are not blind – of course the chances to get a result against these teams are less than in other games, even if we have shown against Man United that it is possible and we have seen here with a little bit more luck it is possible as well.
“But even if there is only a small chance you have to believe and you have to invest everything to make the small chance a little bit bigger over the game.
“I think the players searched for the small chance, unfortunately not getting one point or more. On Wednesday we will try again.”
Published at Mon, 27 Nov 2017 13:24:04 +0000