Pep Guardiola's side are still on for the quadruple this season but they have a congested fixture list as the end of the season closes in.
City find themselves two points off league leaders Liverpool, but winning their game in hand will take them back to the top of the table, with a one point lead.
Sterling has 21 goals for City this season in all competitions and Guardiola praised his capability to shrug off incidents that don't go his way.
For more sports coverage, visit the ABS-CBN Sports website. Sometimes you miss, you have to forget about it and go for the next one. "The pass from Kevin was outstanding, but the finishing from Sterling was incredible". "The finishing from Sterling was incredible".
Sunday's result may have been a blow for City in their title defence, yet it will have been welcomed by Tottenham, who remained third following their resounding 4-0 win over Huddersfield in Saturday's early kick off. It was the same type of battle, between two teams, and what I say is that in those times you can actually trust your team to be better. There's 80 minutes left, you just have to be ready for the next opportunity.
The pair both joined City in the summer of 2015 in big-money deals, Sterling from Liverpool for £44million and De Bruyne from Wolfsburg for £55m.
The home side soon had an injury concern, Jeffrey Schlupp limping off after a collision and being replaced by Cheikhou Kouyate, with City continuing to threaten and Scott Dann doing well to clear another Silva cross. In a twist of fate, City played Palace that day, too.
It doesn't look like an easy game for City on paper.
De Bruyne signed for Chelsea from Genk in January 2012. If De Bruyne stayed here, not happy and not motivated, and we'd sold him after a year, we'd have got less - 50% less than what we sold him for.
Guardiola's upbeat attitude, despite a first defeat in 15 games, suggests a longer-term plan to keep his squad as fresh as possible for a gruelling run-in. "We knew it from weeks ago, how it would be between these important games and Tottenham in the Champions League. No matter what, I am not coming back home a failure'".
It was a fine away display from City, who thoroughly deserved the three points.