Pep Guardiola’s message to Man City fans as Raheem Sterling returns to the Etihad with Chelsea

The winger will face Manchester City for the first time since his summer exit.

Pep Guardiola has said he hopes Raheem Sterling receives a good reception from the Manchester City fans on Wednesday when he returns with Chelsea.

The England international will face his old club for the first time since his summer departure, when Chelsea travel to the Etihad for a third-round EFL Cup tie. Sterling spent seven years at City and scored 131 goals in 339 appearances for the club, while he won four league titles under Guardiola’s stewardship.

But after leaving at the end of last season, the 27-year-old irked some City supporters by claiming in an interview with Sky Sports that he was ‘raging’ and ‘fuming’ at the end of his stint in Manchester and said he left due to ‘misunderstandings’

“It was a shame to see how it ended in the end because I had such a great time there,” he added. "The most part was just getting to play football week in, week out. It was the first time in my career experiencing that [didn’t happen], it was kind of a shock, so I just wanted to get back playing and enjoying my football again. It was as simple as that, and I knew that once I could do that, I could be happy and show that on the field."

However, only three players featured more often for City in all competitions last season than Sterling, and his remarks have not gone down well with fans of his former employers. Despite that, Guardiola insisted on Tuesday that he hopes the attacker is not booed upon his return to the club.

“I hope so [he gets a good reception], definitely hope so. Always I like clubs when they welcome guys who have been here many years and been a key figure, an important role in our team in all these years.

“Maybe forget what happened in the last month, but that’s not the reality of the last six or seven years he was here. He deserves it and I hope the same will happen with Gabby [Jesus]. We want to beat them, of course. In England the people appreciate that.

“The same happened with Zack Steffen in the Championship, Aleks [Zinchenko], Gabby, Raheem, wish all the best. My credit to all of them is immense, what they have done for this club. Thank you so much, I wish him all the best and hope he’s happy.”

Asked about his relationship with Sterling, Guardiola responded: “Yes, [it was a] good relationship. We worked six years here together every day, working, playing a lot of games, the most important games: probably the most important game we played in the final of the Champions League, he was there. If he’s happy we’re happy.”