Ilke Gundogan admits Manchester City players feel a hectic schedule after a catch West Brom drew 1-1 Tuesday night.
Pep Cardiola’s side looked to be sluggish again, and their lack of cutting edge proved to be costly as they had 26 shots, but were only able to get seven towards the goal.
West Brom goalkeeper Sam Johnstone saved crucial time from Gundogan and Raheem Sterling.
Johnny NIC: All hail football clubs have two * ds from the terraces.
The result leaves City with 20 points from 12 games, scoring only 18 league goals in the campaign, far from their usual free-flowing best.
Cardiola’s side have been trying to catch up all season, with the Champions League campaign starting late in August due to determination, and Gundogan suggested the lack of a break was part of the problem.
“Having a team at the top is almost impossible, anything dominates, especially when the table is coming up,” the German international said.
“All the teams in Europe are constantly fighting to win games. But we have responsibilities, especially if we have to win these kinds of games.
“We are humans, not machines, we are fighting. It will not be easy in the next few weeks.”
Gundogan opened the scoring half an hour after City’s first clear chance of the game, but West Brom equalized two minutes before the break when Ruben Dias inadvertently converted a half – Ajay shot.
It was the first goal City conceded in 608 minutes in all competitions, and the price went up as Johnstone frustrated them late.
“We should have won that game, but we can’t change that now,” Kundokan added. “We can do better, but it shouldn’t be.
“We can complain, but we can’t change it, we have to accept it. We have to look forward. We were the best, we had opportunities. I do not know what to say, getting a point is disappointing. We have to win games like this.”
City came into the game in the wake of criticism of their frequent pedestrian performance in goalless Manchester derby on Saturday, and started a little too quickly on home soil against a side with the worst defensive record in the league.
But Cardiola cut the way West Brom set up against them.
“There are players,” he said. “We scored a goal.
“We struggled with long balls and second balls for this game.
“They attacked our left side and we could not control it with Benjamin (Mendy) and Bill (Foton).
“Sometimes you need patience, we tried to figure it out, but it’s not easy. The second half was better, but we could not score.
“Ten players defending, it’s not easy.”
Following on Saturday’s trip to Southampton, one of the top teams in the league, Cardiola acknowledged the increased focus on the game.
“It was an important week and it didn’t start right in getting three points,” he said.
“It simply came to our notice then. This is no secret. This is a different situation for many reasons. We will go to Southampton and try to play a good game. ”