Pep Guardiola lauded Raheem Sterling’s development after the attacker’s hat-trick in Manchester City’s 5-0 win over Brighton and Hove Albion.
Sterling’s treble saw him move onto 27 goals this season, the most he has scored in a single campaign.
Guardiola paid tribute to the England international, with Gabriel Jesus and Bernardo Silva also on the scoresheet in the convincing win on Saturday.
“All credit to [Sterling]. Not just for the three goals, it’s important for what we have ahead of us,” the Manchester City manager told a news conference.
“His development as a player is because he wants to improve and we are so delighted with his performance.
“Raheem himself knows exactly what he has to do. He’s a huge competitor and is self-confident, aggressive, he loves to score goals.
“We have wingers with the mentality to score goals which is so important.”
City’s win saw them mathematically secure a top-four finish in the Premier League with three games remaining.
However, they will have to wait until Monday to learn whether their appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) against a two-year European ban has been successful.
Guardiola said he was “very” confident City would be successful while adding they had proven they deserved their place in the Champions League.
“It’s the [CAS] decision, so it’s so important. Of course, it is. We have done what we have done, won our qualification on the pitch. No one can doubt this,” he said.
“It’s been an outstanding season from Liverpool, and congratulations to them again for winning the Premier League.
“In general, the level that we played at today has been quite similar for the whole season and now we’re going to wait for Monday for the decision that will be taken.”