And the England winger warned that unless referees start clamping down on the X-rated challenges some players are going to miss the World Cup this summer because of injuries.

City have lost Germany international Leroy Sane for two months after a horror tackle by Cardiff’s Joe Bennett last Sunday while Sterling himself, Kevin De Bruyne, Ilkay Gundogan, Sergio Aguero and youngster Brahim Diaz have all been victims of reckless tackles that have not been punished by red cards.

Sterling said: “The referees and officials need to cut these tackles out because some of the players are getting butchered out there and it’s sad to see.

“Some of the challenges have been awful. It’s not what I expect to see in a top-flight football match – especially when teams are losing and just go out to kick players. I don’t think that’s right.

“We need to cut down on that because we’ve got a World Cup at the end of the year and the majority of the players in the top flight, and certainly in our team, will be playing in it and it would be sad to see someone miss the tournament due to a silly tackle and someone get away with it.

“These tackles can happen, but it can’t be every game we’re getting two players coming in with injuries.

“There are going to be challenges that are badly timed and probably not all of them are intentional but at the same time if it’s a dangerous tackle, it’s a dangerous tackle.

“We need to try and cut this out of the game. I find it a bit unfair at times. We haven’t been protected enough in certain situations.”

Sterling says Manchester City must steel themselves for another physical test today against Burnley at Turf Moor, where he received a hostile reception last season.

He added: “Burnley wear their hearts on their sleeves, they’re energetic, they fight until the last whistle and we know it’s not going to be an easy one.

“They are going to be straight at our feet ready and pressing us but we’ve got to simply play our game like we have all season. It’s going to be a massive test for us. They are a tough and physical team but at the same time they have good, technical players that can make a difference.”

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