Raheem Sterling believes Man City will show their true colours next season.
Although the 2016/17 campaign ended without silverware, the England star acknowledged progression, with the Blues showcasing glimpses of scintillating attacking football and beautifully-crafted goals.
With frailties ironed out, he expects more of the same with City mounting very strong challenges in all competitions.
“We had started really well and made some good strides but we didn’t finish by doing what we wanted to do.
“We can take a lot of positives out of the season and take them into next year.
“With the team, the players and the manager we have, it’s looking to be good in the future.
“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 streetwise, we’ll be a real force.”
Sterling himself flourished under the guidance of manager Pep Guardiola and was one strike short of his all-time best scoring return.
Increasingly confident, creative and clinical, a productive overall individual display heralded 10 goals and 15 assists for the 22-year-old, who asserts his best is yet to come.
He reflected: “I did alright last season.
“I did a few decent things and scored in a few games. I was one goal away from my best tally.
“I need to keep pushing and keep getting goals.”
Sterling attributed his improved form to manager Guardiola, hailing the Catalan’s ability to help players achieve their full potential – both on and off the pitch.
“He’s a massive influence for everyone,” the winger continued. “Look at where he’s been, what he’s done and the players he’s worked with.
“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.”
Sterling’s move to the Etihad Stadium in the summer of 2015 sparked global interest, placing high expectations on young shoulders.
Asked how he copes with such pressure, Sterling replied: “I stay at home, sleep, train and try to be chilled and not think about things as much as I did in the past.
“I try to keep things simple to make life easier for myself.”
The winger is certainly enjoying his time in Manchester.
Frequently pictured in training, flashing a grin and joking around, he has formed close bonds with teammates that reflect positively on the pitch.
“He’s a good lad and has a good laugh with everyone,” he declared.
“He’s a friendly character and a great guy to have around the changing room.”