Manuel Pellegrini left baffled by Manchester City slump after latest loss
Manuel Pellegrini was at a loss to explain the 2-1 home defeat to CSKA Moscow that has left Manchester City’s Champions League hopes hanging by a thread.
Yaya Toure and Fernandinho were both shown second-half red cards at the Etihad Stadium as Seydou Doumbia’s first-half brace condemned the Premier League champions to a surprise defeat.
City drop to bottom of Group E with just two points from the four Champions League games they have played ahead of a trip to Roma and a home clash with Bayern Munich â and their manager could offer no explanation for their dismal European form.
"It’s very difficult to understand why we played so badly," Pellegrini told Sky Sports.
"From the beginning we were so nervous. We lost so many passes and we gave them the two goals. Really, we didn’t play.
"It’s difficult to know why you have so low a performance. In the way we tried to play we have not changed anything we did in any other games. I realise it’s a very difficult and strange moment to understand why it happened.
"I don’t think it’s just this competition. I think in the last two weeks we are not playing bad, but we are not playing the way we normally do.
"I don’t understand why, but we must find the reason to arrange the solution.
"The performance of the team depends on individual performances and, I repeat, it’s difficult to understand why we are at this level."
Toure pulled the hosts level in the first half with a sublime free-kick, but went from hero to villain after the break when he was sent off for lashing out at Roman Eremenko.
That came after substitute Fernandinho had seen red for two yellow cards and Pellegrini refused to criticise the officials for the decisions.
"It’s the referee that has to decide about that," he added.
"If Fernandinho made a foul for the second yellow card is difficult to know. Of course with two players less it was impossible for us to change the score.
"The first half especially, we didn’t see the team we normally see. We didn’t shoot once at their goal, we just had Yaya’s free-kick, and we gave away two easy goals.
"It’s a crisis of confidence, of course, but we must find why. I am talking with the players every day and we are trying to win again."