Manuel Pellegrini refused to critcise Joe Hart after the goalkeeper’s blunder almost cost Manchester City all three points against Norwich.
Hart gifted the Canaries an 83rd-minute equaliser in their clash against the Premier League leaders at the Etihad Stadium as he dropped a cross and Cameron Jerome pounced.
But City snatched a 2-1 win with a Yaya Toure penalty in the 89th minute after Norwich captain Russell Martin was sent off for blocking a Raheem Sterling shot with his arm.
“It was unfortunate. Sometimes these things happen. Joe is human and he can make mistakes,” Pellegrini said.
“Apart from that error, there were only two shots at him in the game and he saved those because he is a very good goalkeeper. We played against a difficult team that played very well.”
City were frustrated by the resilient visitors until finally breaking through with a Nicolas Otamendi header from a corner midway through the second half.
They then looked to be cruising towards victory until Hart’s blunder precipitated a chaotic finish out of keeping with the rest of the game.
Hart atoned for his mistake with a fine save from Martin Olsson after Toure had put the side back ahead, before City missed a second penalty in stoppage time, Aleksandar Kolarov firing wide after Sterling was tripped.
By then Toure had been substituted but had not gone quietly. The Ivorian seemed annoyed to be taken off and exchanged words with Pellegrini as he left the field.
Of the overall performance, Pellegrini said: “I think we deserved to win the game. We started from the beginning to try and score.
“Norwich played very well because they defended very well with 11 players near their box. It was very difficult for us to create space but we created three or four chances that we missed.
“Finally, we opened the scoring with a beautiful goal from Nicolas Otamendi. Unfortunately they drew level with a very unlucky goal but in the last 10 minutes the team demonstrated its personality and character.”