Raheem Sterling wasn't the only Manchester City player to underperform at Wembley at the weekend, yet his performance will have attracted more scrutiny than most given his recent form.

Phil Foden has seemingly taken Sterling's spot in Pep Guardiola's first choice XI, putting in some brilliant performances and scoring some crucial goals in the process.

With just three starts in nine for Sterling, who has mostly been limited to short cameos off the bench over the last month, it's been hard for the England international to prove why he deserves to be involved for all the big games coming up. It's been nine games since Sterling last scored for City, a run stretching back two months.

He will need to do better than his showing against Chelsea - but the whole side know they can improve. It's a lose-lose situation for Sterling at the moment, he needs a run of games to rediscover his confidence when there are limited opportunities for that to happen.

Guardiola isn't going to play an out-of-form Sterling when there are better options available, especially with a final and two-legged semi-final in the next five games.

So perhaps the solution is not to play him in those games - instead trusting Sterling in the Premier League. After all, with the Premier League still to be secured, these are hardly dead rubbers.

If Sterling knows he will get minutes in the league, he can be free to focus on his performances, and with any luck play his way back into the big-game XI.

It was Sterling at Wembley trying to motivate his teammates before and during the Chelsea game in the tunnel, so it's not like he's short of confidence.

This is a player always striving to improve, who sets his season goals by simply trying to better the previous year's tally. With 13 goals and 11 assists this year, Sterling is set to finish considerably behind his high standards of each past season under Guardiola.

As the saying goes, form is temporary. For Sterling, it's a matter of when he returns to his best, not if.

So Guardiola needs to help him rediscover that form, and the Premier League run-in is the perfect opportunity to let Sterling shine again.