The visitors frustrated Pep Guardiola’s men in the first-half, but Sterling’s quick-fire second-half treble was enough to earn a crucial win which moved the Blues four points clear at the top.
When speaking about the importance of the victory, Sterling said: “It’s massive. We know how big this half of the season is - every game is a final.
“We’ll focus on the next game - the Champions League, then the FA Cup, then the Premier League after the international break.”
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The treble – his first since 2015 – took Sterling’s tally of league goals to 15 this season – level with team-mate Sergio Aguero and the winger is hungry for more.
“I just want to improve,” he said. “This year’s no different. I don’t want to just score goals but important goals and help the team. I got the first, then I got the second and I tried to get a third. Luckily, I did. It’s great. It’s only my second match ball. I hope to try and get some more.”
There was controversy surrounding Sterling’s opener as the linesman initially flagged for offside, before overturning his decision after lengthy consultations with referee Paul Tierney.
“In my head, I was just hoping and praying they would point to the centre spot,” added Sterling. “I don’t know exactly what it was, but I was praying they’d give it to us. It would have been a massive disappointment, but we got the goal and we’re happy with that. It was slightly fortunate, but we deserved it. It kick-started our game.”
Despite the gap at the top of the Premier League table, with second-placed Liverpool not in action until tomorrow, Sterling insisted that the Blues will remain focused until the end of the campaign.
“We’re just taking it a game at a time,” he added. “We know we’re strong - we’re contenders. We’re just doing our part. Now, we’ll recover and go again.
“We’re just focused on one game at a time. Today, it was really difficult, and it will be a difficult run-in, but we’re focused.”