Manuel Pellegrini says he is stunned that City lost to Sunderland.
Phil Bardsley’s first-half strike gave the Black Cats all three points and condemned the Sky Blues to a fourth away loss of the season – this despite the visitors enjoying two thirds of the possession during the 90 minutes.
“I really can’t believe we lost this match,” said the City boss.
“Sunderland have won the match with just one chance in the whole 90 minutes while we have several opportunities to score and maybe at least take a point but we didn’t do it - this can happen sometimes in football.
“When you fall behind you are always chasing the game and the clock is against you and it becomes more difficult as time goes on and maybe you start to rush your passes trying to find a way back into the game.
Sunderland played well and started the game trying to play football and after they scored they defended very well and made it difficult for us
Pellegrini refused to blame the referee for the loss, despite Bardsley appearing to foul James Milner in the build-up to the goal.
He said: “It doesn’t matter whether it was a foul or not because the referee decides what is a foul and what isn’t – he decided it wasn’t and that’s all that counts.
“I don’t like to blame defeats on moments like that – I think we deserved to win and we also deserved to win the other games we’ve lost this season away but the fact is we didn’t and that’s what worries me.
“The Premier League is very close and there are six or seven teams trying to win the title and there are lots of games to play – we are playing well away from home but perhaps we just need a little bit more luck.”
Milner, however, did feel he’d been fouled in the build-up to Sunderland’s winner.
The City midfielder said: “I felt two hands on my back and he gave me a little shove which made me lose my balance.
The referee didn’t see it so you could say it was clever play by Bardsley and he’s got away with it and scored the goal
“This is a big set-back and we need to improve our away form, even though I think we’ve played well in the games we’ve lost. Whether that’s down to decisions, missed chances or mistakes I’m not sure but it’s just not going our way at the moment.
“It’s a blow that we have the international break now but we’ll pick ourselves up and I’m sure we’ll start to improve away from home before long.”