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Rediff.com  » Sports » Football Briefs: Sterling expects Manchester City to 'punish' opponents

Football Briefs: Sterling expects Manchester City to 'punish' opponents

June 16, 2017 10:28 IST

Sterling expects Manchester City to 'punish' opponents

Raheem Sterling

IMAGE: Raheem Sterling of Manchester City celebrates. Photograph: Quinn Rooney/Getty Images

Manchester City have the talent to compete on all fronts if they cut down defensive mistakes next season, winger Raheem Sterling has said.

Manager Pep Guardiola ended his debut campaign without a trophy as City finished third in the league after sloppy defending cost them crucial points to end their title hopes.

Their Champions League campaign was dogged by similar issues as City failed to protect a two-goal lead against French side AS Monaco and were knocked out in the Round of 16, but Sterling remains hopeful for the future.

"With the team, the players and the manager we have, it's looking to be good in the future," Sterling told the club's official website.

"We're a team that can punish teams. We need to defend better as a unit -- not letting in as many cheap goals. That's what has cost us -- our own mistakes and collective errors on the field.

"Once we become more street-wise, we'll be a real force."

The 22-year-old England international scored 10 goals in all competitions last season and believes that Guardiola can help him develop further.

"He's a massive influence for everyone," Sterling said.

"He can always give everyone advice and for a player like me, it's great to be learning from someone like that.

"He told me to be myself and express myself. He said my natural ability will always come through once I do that. It's a privilege to work my trade under him."

Everton sign Dutchman Klaassen, Sunderland keeper Pickford

Everton have boosted their ranks for next season by signing Ajax Amsterdam's Netherlands midfielder Davy Klaassen and promising young Sunderland goalkeeper Jordan Pickford on Thursday.

Klaassen has joined the Premier League club until June 2022 for 27 million euros ($30.09 million), while Pickford has also signed a five-year deal for an initial fee of 25 million pounds ($31.89 million).

The 24-year-old Ajax captain Klaassen, a product of their famed academy, scored 49 goals in 163 games for the club.

He also helped the Dutch side to reach this year's Europa League final where they lost to Manchester United.

Attacking midfielder Klaassen was persuaded to join Everton by their renowned Dutch coach Ronald Koeman.

“He’s an honest guy, we talked about the club, about the way he wants to play and that gave me a positive feeling," Klaassen told Everton TV.

"It’s difficult to leave Ajax but I think this is a good step for me now and I’m really looking forward to my time here.”

Klaassen has 14 caps after making his Netherlands debut in a friendly against France in 2014, scoring four goals.

“He’s a player who is only 24 but has a lot of experience and is a leader on the pitch," said Koeman.

"He has already captained Ajax for two seasons and that shows you the type of person he is.

“He is hardworking, likes to press and, of course, will give us more creativity and goals."

Pickford, who got his first call-up to England's senior squad in October, was one of the best players in a Sunderland side that finished bottom in the top flight last season.

Speaking about his move to Merseyside, the 23-year-old told the team website (www.evertonfc.com). "It's a great club, a massive club and I think it’s a great opportunity and the right time for me to come to Everton and show what I can do."

Pickford, whose fee which could rise to 30 million pounds based on team and individual performances, is in Poland with the England under-21s and the move to Everton will not be completed until July 1 when the international transfer window opens.

Everton finished seventh in the Premier League last term and qualified for the Europa League third qualifying round.

AC Milan goalkeeper Donnarumma rejects new contract

AC Milan goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma has stunned the club by turning down a new contract, CEO Marco Fassone has said.

Donnarumma signed for Milan's youth team in 2013 before making his senior debut in 2015 at just 16-years-old. He went on to become first choice at the club, making 68 appearances over the last two seasons.

The 18-year-old's contract expires next year and his decision to reject a new deal was made on Thursday after talks between the player, his agent Mino Raiola and the club.

"Raiola informed us that Donnarumma has made a definitive decision not to renew the contract with Milan," Fassone said in a statement.

"We were taken by surprise, as we had hoped Donnarumma would be the goalkeeper taking Milan into the future. Naturally, the decision leaves a bitter taste in the mouth, but now we have to go forward."

The Italy international made his under-21 debut in 2015 and was called up to the senior side in 2016.

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