Roberto Mancini believes if his side had taken one of the numerous chances they were presented with in the first half, it would be the Blues progressing to the FA Cup sixth round rather than Stoke.
The City boss was pleased with his team’s overall performance, citing the controversial dismissal of Emmanuel Adebayor as the game’s turning point.
“I think we dominated the match for long periods,” he said.
“We had six or seven chances to score a goal up until Emmanuel was sent off, but I won’t say anything against my player because he played fantastically well.
“When a striker is being closely marked he wants to make space for himself and this kind of thing can happen – I thought it was a yellow card at the very worst.
“But football is a strange game because we didn’t score when we were on top and then something happens later that completely changes the game.
I think that’s the best we’ve played for three or four games and I thought we dealt well with everything Stoke threw at us up until the sending off, so it’s very frustrating to come away with nothing
Mancini, who will now be without Adebayor for the next three matches, will be hoping to have Carlos Tevez back for this weekend’s crucial Premier League clash with leaders Chelsea.
“We must focus on the Chelsea match because if we want to finish in the top four we must pick up as many points as we can,” he said.
“But I’m happy with my players and on another night, this is a game I believe we would have won comfortably.”