Sterling should have scored more, says Guardiola after Man City man's treble
The England international was in fine form at the Etihad has he scored three goals in just 11 second-half minutes, ripping the Italians' defence apart.
The 24-year-old also set up Sergio Aguero's first goal and won the penalty for the Argentine's second in a fabulous display in Manchester.
However, with his team 5-1 ahead, Sterling was put through on goal with only the goalkeeper to beat, but he slid the ball wide of the post, something his manager was not about to let slide himself.
'He was brilliant, but he should have scored one more,' Guardiola told BT Sport, with a smile on his face. 'But not just with the ball, without the ball, he helped us a lot.'
Sterling agreed with his manager's sentiment, but explained that he was looking to set up Riyad Mahrez, rather than get another goal for himself.
'I should have had four,' said the flying winger. 'Riyad set me up for the last one and as soon as I went through on goal I was looking for him to see if he was anywhere close, I wanted to put one on a plate for him.
'But going through there, I've just got to finish that, but otherwise we were clinical.'
It was a largely dominant performance from the Premier League champions, but they did go behind in the first-half after Fernandinho clumsily gave away a penalty for a trip on Josip Ilicic, which Ruslan Malinovskiy stroked home.
Ever the perfectionist, Sterling also referenced the Atalanta goal, despite picking up a comfortable win.
'There's no point scoring goals if you let in easy ones,' he continued. 'The penalty was a bit disappointing, in this competition, the good teams will punish you.'
The game was also soured for Guardiola by a late red card for Phil Foden and a first-half injury to Rodri, who appeared to pull a hamstring.
The Spaniard was fuming on the touchline with the two yellow cards for Foden and refused to comment on the sending off after the match, saying: 'I want to be on the bench in the next game.'
Meanwhile he seemed relaxed about the injury to Rodri, a natural midfielder who was playing at centre-back alongside Fernandinho from the start, but was replaced by John Stones.
'We'll see what happened with Rodri,' said Guardiola. 'We have a few players in that position, John [Stones] and Nico [Otamendi] is back, but we'll see what happens in the next game.'
MORE: Phil Foden is the obvious successor to David Silva at Man City, says Joe Hart
MORE: Why John Stones is sporting a black eye in Man City's Champions League clash with Atalanta
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