(Reuters) - Manchester City have the talent to compete on all fronts if they cut down defensive mistakes next season, winger Raheem Sterling has said.
Manager Pep Guardiola ended his debut campaign without a trophy as City finished third in the league after sloppy defending cost them crucial points to end their title hopes.
Their Champions League campaign was dogged by similar issues as City failed to protect a two-goal lead against French side AS Monaco and were knocked out in the Round of 16, but Sterling remains hopeful for the future.
"With the team, the players and the manager we have, it's looking to be good in the future," Sterling told the club's official website. (www.mancity.com)
"We're a team that can punish teams. We need to defend better as a unit -- not letting in as many cheap goals. That's what has cost us -- our own mistakes and collective errors on the field.
"Once we become more street-wise, we'll be a real force."
The 22-year-old England international scored 10 goals in all competitions last season and believes that Guardiola can help him develop further.
"He's a massive influence for everyone," Sterling said.
"He can always give everyone advice and for a player like me, it's great to be learning from someone like that.
"He told me to be myself and express myself. He said my natural ability will always come through once I do that. It's a privilege to work my trade under him."
Reporting by Aditi Prakash in Bengaluru