Raheem Sterling has declared the Premier League title will come down to how hard Manchester City are prepared to fight against Brighton and Hove Albion.
Pep Guardiola’s side head to the South Coast knowing we must equal Liverpool’s result against Wolves to be crowned champions for the second successive season and Sterling says this relentless title battle will be settled by who has the most left to give.
“Fitness doesn’t really come into play in these last two games,” he explained.
“It’s all about mentality and that winning spirit.
“You can do as much tactics as you want in the week and watch as many videos as you want but on a matchday that all goes out the window.
“It’s about how much you want it and how hard you are willing to fight until that last minute.”
Victory on Sunday would cap a fine week for the England winger, who was named Football Writers’ Association (FWA) Footballer of the Year.
It was just reward for his exemplary performance this season, in which he has recorded 17 goals and 10 assists in the Premier League.
For Sterling, however, individual accolades are a product of playing in a title challenging team, something he says has been crucial to his own form and development.
“The way to improve every year is to try and win more trophies,” said City’s No.7.
“When your team is winning trophies that is the time people talk about you.
“The more silverware you win, the more you will be spoken about as a player.
“That’s the most important thing for me, to help my team and be there for my team to try and win football matches and trophies.”
His form has certainly been trophy worthy, but Sterling has also been praised for his role in the fight against racism in football and as he approaches the end of his eighth season in the professional game, the 24-year-old reflects with pride at how he has grown on and off the pitch.
“You learn from being around older players,” he added.
“You see these people off the field and how they behave and how they react and carry themselves on a day to day basis.
“I tried to take little things like that from them and put it into my life.
“It’s a fantastic achievement (to win the FWA award) and I’m delighted the writers voted for me.”