Raheem Sterling has revealed that he took the penalty in Manchester City’s 4-0 victory over Watford instead of regular taker Kevin De Bruyne because he was eager to bolster his goal tally and score another hat-trick.
City bounced back to winning ways following their disappointing defeat in the FA Cup semi-final against Arsenal on Saturday as they once again battered the Hornets and put a dent in their Premier League survival hopes.
Sterling was the star of the show as he opened the scoring with an emphatic finish into the top corner and he had the chance to double the lead from the penalty spot nine minutes later.
Ben Foster made an outstanding save to keep the spot-kick out, but the ball fell kindly for Sterling who was able to save his blushes by converting the rebound.
While it proved inconsequential as the goal was eventually scored – with Phil Foden and Aymeric Laporte going on to add a third and fourth in the second-half – it was yet another penalty miss for the Blues, who have failed to score six times from the spot this season.
Scoring penalties became a real problem for City earlier in the campaign as Sterling again, Sergio Aguero, Ilkay Gundogan and Gabriel Jesus twice all missed and it wasn’t until De Bruyne took over the responsibility did they become a virtually-guaranteed goal again, with the Belgian scoring all four of his.
Yet Sterling revealed he wanted to take it at Vicarage Road as he looks to reach the 20-goal mark.
“I seen I was on, I scored the first one and knew I was on 18, I knew if I got the second one and I was on the pitch for 90 I knew I had another chance of getting a hat-trick,” Sterling explained to Sky Sports after the game.
“So I wanted to try and get a hat-trick today but it didn’t happen but I’m really happy with the two goals.
“A winger to score 20 in the Premier League is a great achievement, we have one more game left and hopefully I can do it then.”
City will conclude their domestic season when they welcome already relegated Norwich City to the Etihad on Sunday and then they will have nearly two weeks to prepare for the return of the Champions League and Real Madrid.
Although City hold a 2-1 advantage in the last-16 tie, Sterling has warned that it’s going to be a tough game.
“The more games we have before that, we’ve only got one now, we’ve got to really take all we can from these games because Madrid’s going to be a massive game,” he said when asked if the win over Watford was good preparation for the La Liga champions.
“They’ve finished the season brilliantly, they’ve won the league and we know it’s going to be a strong test because they’re a strong team.”