Raheem Sterling used Manchester City’s defeat to Spurs in the Champions League quarter-finals last year to inspire his talismanic performance on Friday, Gary Lineker has revealed.
The Englishman scored the crucial early goal as Pep Guardiola’s side knocked Real Madrid out with a 2-1 victory at the Etihad, winning 4-2 on aggregate.
Last season’s continental run ended in a painful defeat for Sterling, who wheeled away in celebration believing he had scored the winner in the second-leg before his goal was disallowed for an offside in the build-up.
City crashed out on away goals, losing 4-4 on aggregate to eventual finalists Spurs and leaving a bitter taste in Sterling’s mouth.
‘I don’t know whether I’m supposed to share this or it’s supposed to be a secret from Raheem, but he actually got in touch with BT to ask for the video of last season’s game against Tottenham Hotspur that they lost,’ Lineker said.
‘Not just to see his performance but he wanted to get that feeling back of losing and what it meant, which just shows you how much thought goes into his game.
‘He wanted to make sure it didn’t happen again.’
Sterling has been crucial for City in Europe this season, already firing in six goals and providing two assists in eight Champions League games this season.
City were left disappointed with their distant second place in the Premier League this season, but showed their determination to put that behind them on Friday night as they put Real to the sword.
‘We showed energy and passion. We needed to run our socks off and the results will follow,’ Sterling said.
‘We know how good they are and the difference was who was willing to put in the extra yards.
‘That was part of the plan, to be on the front foot and be aggressive and we got two goals from it.
‘It’s a great achievement, hopefully plenty more (goals) to follow.’
The Citizens’ success is largely judged on their European performance and victory kept their dreams of a first Champions League trophy alive. They are set to face Lyon in the quarter-finals in Lisbon.