Manchester City hammered Shakhtar Donetsk 6-0 last night in the Champions League.
However, referee Viktor Kassai’s decision to award City a penalty in the first half after Sterling kicked the floor stole the headlines.
Sterling tried to chip the keeper from inside the Shakhtar penalty area, however, the England international kicked the ground and fell to the floor.
The attacker was slammed after the incident, with may claiming Sterling should have told the referee it wasn’t a penalty.
However, Guardiola defended his star man, claiming Liverpool midfielder Milner could have done the same thing during their Champions League clash with the Reds last season.
“He could do that [admit the mistake],” Guardiola said.
“But last season Liverpool… Milner could say that the pass to the second goal in the 44th minute it was a legal goal.
“But Mateu Lahoz didn’t want to concede that goal, so that’s why it happened, but he [Sterling] could do that, yes.
“We don’t like to score a goal in that situation but [Sterling] didn’t realise.
“The referee at the end realised.
“The Spanish referee Mateu Lahoz, he realised, he didn’t want to concede.
“But in that situation [Sterling] didn’t realise because he wanted to chip, caught the grass, goes down, it’s not a penalty.”
City are back in action on Sunday afternoon, with Guardiola’s men hosting Manchester United.
A win for City would extend their lead ahead of United in the Premier League to 12 points.
Liverpool, meanwhile, host Fulham on Sunday (12pm kick off).