Manchester City must become more "streetwise" if they are to challenge for honours next season, says forward Raheem Sterling.
City's first season under Pep Guardiola ended without a single piece of silverware as they struggled for consistency – particularly in the first half of the campaign.
They only won one of their four Premier League matches in October and suffered damaging defeats to rivals Chelsea and Liverpool before the close of 2017.
Another blip in March saw City eliminated from the Champions League at the hands of Monaco and suffer another reverse against eventual champions Chelsea.
Sterling admitted that the season had not gone to plan, and stressed the need for City's squad to cut sharpen up in all areas – but particularly defence – if they are to be contenders in 2017-18.
"Last season was a little underwhelming in terms of what we expected," he told the club's official website.
"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."