Lineker shares how Raheem Sterling used Spurs to prepare for Real Madrid clash


Gary Lineker has revealed the lengths Raheem Sterling went to in preparing for Manchester City’s Champions League victory over Real Madrid – using last season’s Tottenham defeat as motivation.

Sterling scored his 100th goal for City as Pep Guardiola’s side powered into the quarter-finals with a 2-1 win over Madrid, inflicting Zinedine Zidane’s first defeat as a manager in a knockout game.

Gabriel Jesus added to Sterling’s opener after Karim Benzema had equalised for Madrid, with City winning 4-2 on aggregate to set up a last-eight clash against Lyon next Saturday.

And BT Sport presenter Lineker later revealed how Sterling had got in touch with the channel to ask for a video of City’s defeat to Tottenham at the quarter-final stage last season as the England star prepared for Friday night’s game.

Lineker said: “I don’t know whether I’m supposed to share this or whether it’s supposed to be a secret, but he actually got in touch with BT to ask for the video of last season’s game against Tottenham Hotspur that they lost.

Raheem Sterling celebrates after scoring his 100th goal for City to send them on their way to the Champions League quarter-finals

“Not just to see his performance but he wanted to get that feeling back of losing and what it meant.

“It just shows you how much thought goes into his game – so he wanted to make sure it didn’t happen again I suppose.”

City were on course for a quadruple when they came up against Mauricio Pochettino’s team in April last year.

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But they lost 1-0 to Spurs in the first leg at Tottenham Hotspur stadium, and crashed out on away goals despite winning 4-3 in the return at the Etihad.

Following Friday’s win, City boss Guardiola outlined his side’s determination to finally lift the European Cup this time around.

And BT Sport pundit Rio Ferdinand said Sterling’s preparations for the Madrid clash show how much the former Liverpool winger shares his manager’s desire for European football’s biggest club prize.

“Huge credit goes to him,” the former United defender said of Sterling, who left Anfield for the Etihad in 2015.

“The way he’s learned, the way he’s been a student of the game under Pep Guardiola.

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“He left Liverpool under a bit of a cloud from their point of view, but his whole desire was about going and winning trophies and he’s gone there [to City] and proved that point beyond belief. He’s a top player.”

Ferdinand said Sterling asking for the video of the Tottenham defeat showed how the 25-year-old was taking care of the finer details that separate winners from the also-rans.

He said: “Talking about being a student of the game, that reinforces that – the due diligence, the working on little things that tick you off to make sure you get over the line, and today the energy, the way he applied himself was really good.”

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