Roberto Martinez had no doubts that his team were the better of the two at the Etihad Stadium on Wednesday evening, but that missed opportunities proved the difference between three points and none.
Franco Di Santo, Shaun Maloney and Callum McManaman all came close for Latics during a performance which for long spells frustrated the home side and grew in confidence throughout, but Carlos Tevez’s late winner sealed three points for Man City which left Martinez with mixed emotions, saying:
“There isn’t another team in the last two years who have produced the kind of statistics that we have, which is a compliment to the squad and a benchmark to maintain for the rest of the season.
“The reason we didn’t win is simple; we didn’t take our chances. Overall, that was the best performance we’ve produced against a top-four club in many years; from start to finish we had a clear intention of winning the game and the players adapted themselves to the tactical demands of the game in an incredible manner.
“When you look back at the game and see that you’ve limited Manchester City to two efforts on target and enjoyed the majority of possession it shows the level of performance the players produced.
“The difference between taking three points of course is taking those chances you create, and we must remember that we were taking on an outstanding side who don’t need to be better than their opponents to win a football game – a piece of magic brought them their goal.
“We were really clever in our movement throughout the game and created at least three outstanding opportunities to score.
“They all came from open play and we had to work had to produce them, so maybe the only disappointment from the performance is that we didn’t show the belief needed to win at a place like the Etihad Stadium.”
With a trip to West Ham United next up for Latics on Saturday afternoon, Martinez is confident that the team’s endeavour at the Etihad will bring rewards if replicated on a regular basis:
“Aside from the result it’s an incredible feeling to come to the home of the champions and finish the game as the better side.
“Of course, we would much rather have taken the points from the game but if we continue to play like that then we will take points from games, I’ve no doubt about that.”