Sterling back for City as Guardiola predicts tough Leicester test


Raheem Sterling could return for Manchester City on Saturday against a Leicester City side Pep Guardiola has described as a "very good team".

Leicester's defence of their stunning Premier League title success of last season has stuttered throughout and last weekend's 2-1 defeat at Sunderland left Claudio Ranieri's men just two points above the relegation zone.

They have fared much better in the Champions League, finishing top of Group G, but rounded off their pool matches with a 5-0 thrashing by Porto on Wednesday night.

Despite their problems, Guardiola is not expecting an easy trip to the King Power Stadium.

He told a news conference: "It is tough sometimes, it can happen.

"What I saw with Leicester is they remain a very good team. I have a lot of respect for Claudio, what happened last season was amazing, in the way they did it and what they did.

"Now they are in the Champions League, they were first in their group. Maybe the players were so focused, sometimes you can't focus as much on the Premier League, and when you don't win you are not at the top. But now they have qualified they have two months to focus on the league.

"They are solid, I know [Shinji] Okazaki, [Riyad] Mahrez and [Jamie] Vardy - they have a lot of quality and I think they will come back to where they deserve [to be]."

England winger Sterling missed last weekend's home defeat to Chelsea and the midweek Champions League draw with Celtic due to a knee injury but could return. Fernandinho and Sergio Aguero are suspended after being sent off against Antonio Conte's side, while Nicolas Otamendi is also banned after being shown five yellow cards.

"Raheem Sterling is much better, yesterday he trained well and hopefully he'll be fit for Saturday," added Guardiola.

"Fabian Delph trained on Thursday so I think all of them are good."

Despite not winning either of their last two games, Guardiola has been encouraged by his players' performances.

"I am a coach for the results, but I want to feel my team is playing well," he said. "Sometimes you deserve to win and you're not able to, but sometimes that happens.

"Always I am focused on the way we play, not always the result. If we play how we played against Chelsea and Celtic, we are going to do good things. If we play like we did against Burnley or Crystal Palace, we might not do so well."