Hat-trick hero Raheem Sterling underlined the importance of Manchester City maintaining their “amazing mentality” as they look to make this a season to remember.
Pep Guardiola’s men broke records aplenty last term as they romped to the Premier League title with a 100-point tally after sealing the Carabao Cup.
City have already defended that cup and remain on track for an unprecedented quadruple, with Champions League and FA Cup dreams alive as well as their hopes of retaining the league crown.
Sterling’s quickfire treble secured a 3-1 win against Watford on Saturday and saw them open up a four-point cushion at the top of the Premier League ahead of challengers Liverpool’s match against Burnley.
“It’s going alright for me and the team,” the match-winning City forward said.
“We’ve got one trophy already and the most important thing is not how many goals I am scoring, it’s how many trophies we lift.
“You know, hopefully we can continue with this amazing mentality and see how far it gets us.
“(We) don’t get excited about anything. We know how difficult teams can be, we know how difficult these competitions are, we’re playing against top teams, top players and anything can happen.
“We’ve got to keep humble, keep fighting game by game.”
Sterling netted a hat-trick in a second-half period of just 13 minutes 12 seconds.
Guardiola kept the attacker’s feet on the ground by saying “he can do better” after a match that was all-square until a controversial opener just after half-time.
Daryl Janmaat’s clearance hit Sterling and went in, but the forward appeared to be offside when played through by Sergio Aguero.
“No, I didn’t hear what (the referee) was saying but at the time I didn’t think I was offside, so I was hoping he did have a long think and give us the goal and that’s exactly what he’s done,” the England international told CityTV.
“But it was a nervous few seconds waiting for him to make the decision, but I was happy to see him give it.
“I happened to get the luck, so I am happy with that. I’ll take them all day.”
Sterling’s second goal came quickly after the contentious opener and his third was a smart finish, taking his tally to 18 for the season in all competitions.
“Best goal of the season? No, not at a chance! Shakhtar, Champions League,” he said.
“But it’s a great way to cap the hat-trick off and I am really happy and pleased that the team got a massive three points and that’s the most important thing.”
Watford had made it tough for City in the first half – certainly more difficult than some onlookers had expected when the teams were announced.
Javi Gracia surprisingly made seven changes at the Etihad Stadium, but the Hornets boss insisted next week’s FA Cup quarter-final against Crystal Palace was not key to those alterations.
“All my decisions always I make thinking focused on the next game,” he said on an evening when substitute Gerard Deulofeu got the consolation.
“If I’ve chosen these players, it is because before the game I thought we needed fresh legs to compete today, to defend well, to run a lot.
“In this moment, you know we have 26 players available and all of them deserve to play because all of them have competed really well.
“It’s good for us to compete like today because for the next games – there are eight games left and FA Cup – it’s the best news for us to have 26 players ready to compete and playing all of them to help the team.
“I think if I have to take my decision again, I’ll do it the same way.”
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