Pep Guardiola has heaped praise on Raheem Sterling after his performance in City’s 6-1 drubbing of Southampton.

The Englishman was directly involved in five of the six goals, scoring twice and providing three assists. The huge victory moves City top of the table, two points clear of Liverpool.

Southampton were the first team to face City in the wake of Sterling’s alleged new £300,000 a week contract, and the wide man proved just how much he’s worth to Guardiola’s star-studded outfit.

Clive Brunskill/Getty Images Sport

After the game, Guardiola told the media, as reported by the Telegraph, that he thought Sterling’s biggest improvement had been a mental one.

The first season, he was scared. He was looking to pass the ball. He was looking for his mate. I have the feeling he is now enjoying scoring goals and making assists. If he has his mind to become a better player and think ‘It is not enough what I am like as a football player’ he can reach whatever he wants.

Sterling’s current contract expires in 2020, so Guardiola is keen to get pen to paper as quickly as possible to ward off any potential suitors.

City face Shakhtar Donetsk this Wednesday in the Champions League, before hosting the Manchester derby on Sunday.

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