Manchester City defender Pablo Zabaleta has confirmed what many of us were already thinking - the club just aren't good enough in the Champions League.
On Tuesday night Zabaleta and co let a 2-0 lead slip against bottom of the group CSKA Moscow to only claim a point - their second from three games.
Now Zabaleta, one of the team's most consistent performers and one of few to come away with any credit from Tuesday's display, has lamented his side's performances in Europe's premier club competition.
Should City fail to acquire the necessary points in their final three fixtures, they'll be facing a third group stage elimination from four attempts, a statistic that brings immense disappointment to City fans, players and hierarchy alike.
Speaking after the draw in Moscow, Zabaleta told reporters: "It was really painful to only draw. It’s not good enough for this team to only draw here. We’re much better than we’re showing in this competition"
What made the result so much worse for Manuel Pellegrini's side is the manor of the draw, with CSKA's equaliser coming via hotly disputed penalty in the final five minutes, Zabaleta commented on that incident, saying: "We weren’t very lucky with the penalty decision. I think there was a penalty on [Edin] Dzeko that wasn’t given in the first-half. mThe referee shouldn’t give that penalty to them if he doesn’t give ours.”
However, the game should have been wrapped up long before that, with Zabaleta himself among the City players to miss good chances, and he clearly shared the frustration felt by fans watching on at home.
"It’s so frustrating. We were 2-0 up at half-time and that was a good result for us. It’s not the first time this has happened and it’s something we need to sort out as soon as possible.
“We’re one team when we play with intensity, with the ball. When we start to give some balls away so cheaply, we’re not the same team. It’s then that we don’t know how to control the game.
Despite the draw, City can still qualify, although they're likely to need to take maximum points from their remaining three games and hope Roma slip up elsewhere.
While qualification is still possible, Zabaleta insists his teammates will continue to fight for their Champions League dream, saying: "It will be hard for us to qualify for the round of 16 with only two points from three games and that’s not good enough.
“We still have a chance and we will do everything to qualify, but if you don’t win games you can’t get through the group. And we haven’t done that yet.
“We’ll see what the other results are. But the most important thing was that we get our result and what we did was not good enough.”
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