Just 24 hours after being named on the shortlist for the Ballon d’Or, Sterling produced another wonderful all-round performance at the Etihad.
As well as claiming three goals in 11 remarkable second half minutes, the 24-year also provided the assist for Sergio Aguero’s opener and won the penalty which Kun converted to help City overturn an Atalanta opener.
“All the credit is for him. He’s a guy whose physicality is incredible. He is so strong,” said Guardiola.
“Day after a game, he could play another.
“His regeneration is incredible; he can play both sides. He is an extraordinary player.”
And asked whether he felt Sterling could get even better yet, the boss said he felt the England international possessed the necessary desire.
“It depends on him. His desire, I think he has that. The desire to be better.”
It was a bittersweet night for the teenager who shone on his second start of the season but was then dismissed seven minutes from time after picking up the second of yellow cards, the second for a pull-back on Marten De Roon
“We knew he could do it. We thought it would be a game we could have the opportunity to run. Phil has quality to make box to box, with his speed," the City boss added.
“He is still young, with a lot to improve.
“He played so good. Every minute is more experience for his future. He played a high level.
“The way he played, (he is an) incredible player. He will know after one yellow card the need to be more careful.
“He is absolutely not going to be fined (for the red card). We have to pay him for the way he played!”