Manuel Pellegrini claimed Man City did not deserve to lose after going down to Real Madrid in their Champions League semi-final at the Bernabeu.
An own goal from Fernando after 20 minutes proved the only difference between the two sides over two legs as City were beaten 1-0 both on the night and on aggregate.
But those bare statistics do not tell the full tale of a match that was dominated by the Spanish giants and their margin of victory could have been much greater.
As in the first leg, City had goalkeeper Joe Hart to thank for making numerous saves but, despite that, Pellegrini felt his former club were fortunate.
“We didn’t deserve to lose this game,” said the Chilean, whose side had four shots on goal to Real’s 15. “Real were very lucky with the deflection that gave them the goal.
“None of the teams deserved to win and it should have gone to penalties. We didn’t see Real Madrid better than us, we were not creative enough to do damage.
“I think Real Madrid’s defence was good but none of these two teams was able to overcome the defence of the other one, neither in Manchester nor Madrid.”
The defeat means Pellegrini now has just two matches left as City manager and points are needed to secure a top-four place in the Barclays Premier League.
Pellegrini said: “It was very important for me to try to reach the final but we couldn’t. We did what we could and now we must think about the future.”
City never really gained momentum after losing captain Vincent Kompany with a groin injury – the latest setback in a long catalogue – after just eight minutes. The Belgium captain will now be assessed when the team return to Manchester but there are fears his season is over.
Pellegrini said: “Of course it’s not a good way to start a semi-final to lose your captain but I don’t think we had any problem defending.
“What we didn’t have was the creative players.”
Real’s failure to score a second goal meant City were alive in the contest until the end, but Hart accepted their performance fell short.
The England number one told BT Sport Europe: “We could easily have been in the final. They created very little over the two legs – but so did we in fairness.
“It was a close semi-final and we have come out the wrong side of it. They could not kill it off, we defended well when needed, but we just didn’t have that little bit more.”