Pep Guardiola fires back at Sterling following claim that he could leave Man City
"They have to be delighted to be at this club"
Pep Guardiola has responded to Raheem Sterling's claim that he could leave Manchester City in order to get regular game time.
The England winger - whose contract expires in 2023 - has said he is open to the idea of moving abroad if he does not start to play more for City.
However, Guardiola has stated that he cannot guarantee Sterling will get more game time at the Etihad and insists the forward must fight for his place like the other players.
"Raheem is our player and will hopefully be an incredibly important player for us," said the Spaniard.
"Some players want to play all the time but I can't assure them of that."
Guardiola also said that players "have to speak on the grass - not Raheem, all of them" and that he just wants everyone at the club to be 'happy'.
"They have the opportunity because they know they're going to play minutes, I don't only play 11 players and that's all," he said. "All of them are involved.
"What I want from Raheem and everyone is for them to be happy."
🗣️ "They have to be delighted to be in this club, if that's not the case they are free to take the decision that is best for them."
Pep Guardiola admits he wasn't aware Raheem Sterling is considering leaving the club for more game time.pic.twitter.com/rth4yKkWsL
— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) October 15, 2021
The former Liverpool man has started just four games all season and has completed the full 90 minutes on just two occasions - once in the Premier League and once in the EFL Cup.
The summer arrival of England team-mate Jack Grealish from Aston Villa for £100m has played a significant part in the winger's lack of minutes, with the Sky Blues' No 10 operating from Sterling's favoured left-wing.
Guardiola revealed that he did not know about Sterling's interview at the FT Business of Sport US summit, but admitted that players have to be "delighted" to play for Man City.
"They [the players] have to be satisfied to be here," added Guardiola,
"They have to be delighted to be at this club. If this is not the case, they are free to take the decision for the best of the players.
"I understand completely. I was a football player and I wanted to play all the time, so this is not an exception. Not just Raheem, all of them want to play 90 minutes in every game but I cannot give them that.
"They have to be improve in every training session and on the pitch and try to be happy there."
Sterling joined City from Liverpool in 2015 and has won the Premier League three times, the FA Cup once and the EFL Cup four times.
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