Manuel Pellegrini admitted the derby stalemate at Old Trafford went against all his footballing instincts – but declared himself satisfied with an away point.
City were forced into a rare rearguard action against United in the second half, with man-of-the-match Nicolas Otamendi and skipper Vincent Kompany flawless in central defence, as they returned to the top of the Premier League table.
Chilean Pellegrini prides himself not only on the results, but the style of his side’s performance so there were mixed emotions from the boss after the game.
He said: “The first half we played better, the same level as United. In the second half we started to lose so many balls, we lost possession of the ball. In that case it’s important to concentrate on defending and not to allow them to create chances, and in that sense we did it well.
“We worked well, United had possession but they didn’t have too many chances. They broke through, they also hit the bar and had a chance at the near post when Joe saved but other than that it was just possession.
“I am satisfied with a point but I don’t like to play in this way. That’s way I say it’s easy to play that way. It’s important to have a point here, another point in the table, but I don’t think it’s the way the team must play.”
Asked what he didn’t like, Pellegrini said: “Not to have good possession in the second half as we did in the first. But I repeat it’s a difficult team and we’re playing away. If you can’t win it then don’t lose it by not concentrating.
“It’s not a bad day. It’s always difficult to play here at United’s stadium, it’s difficult for every team. If we drew at home maybe I wouldn’t be happy, but in this moment it’s a good point, we concentrated well and defended well. Maybe a lot of media criticise that but we can do it also.
“If we want to defend we can defend. We don’t like to, we like to be an attacking team.”