Sport

Hat-trick hero Sterling on best possible scoring season: I want to make those targets rely

Raheem Sterling is eager to make his record scoring season count by helping Manchester City secure silverware after his hat-trick in the 5-0 away win over Brighton and Hove Albion.

City made a top-four finish mathematically certain, as well as all but wrapping up second place as a treble from Sterling, plus goals from Gabriel Jesus and Bernardo Silva, saw off sorry Brighton.

It was a welcome away win on Saturday after three consecutive Premier League defeats on their travels, with a home game with Bournemouth up next before a key FA Cup semi-final against Arsenal.

Sterling has six goals in his past five games and moved onto 27 in all competitions, making this his best scoring season.

“The most important thing for me is trying to have goals to add value to the team,” Sterling said to Sky Sports.

“At the end of the day [it is most important] to try and win the FA Cup final and try to win the Champions League as well otherwise these goals don’t mean anything.

“I need to try and make these goals count.

“I think the problem we have had this season is we have created a lot of chances, but last season and the season before we had finished them and buried games early on.

“This season we haven’t had that slight bit of luck but we are growing, doing things right and that is we need to do, continue making chances. We can’t complain.

“We were disappointed last weekend with the loss away to Southampton when we created chances but we didn’t finish them. It is great to bounce back with another away win.”

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Sterling moved onto 17 Premier League goals and was asked if he was eyeing a late push for the golden boot, with Jamie Vardy five ahead of him atop the scoring charts.

Sterling said: “I said to myself earlier that I’m on 14 now and I need to score a hat-trick – and I’m grateful that I scored a hat-trick.”

The England international was laughing as he attempted to answer what his intentions were for his hat-trick goal, which came in unusual circumstances nine minutes from time.

He inadvertently scored a header – his second of the match – through the legs of goalkeeper Mat Ryan while he was falling to the ground having forced his way past two Brighton defenders.

Sterling said: “I tried to flick it over his head, and I’ve seen the keeper come out and I have headed it in! It counts!”

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