Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini offered no excuses after his nine-man team slumped to a dismal 2-1 Champions League loss to CSKA Moscow.
Midfielders Fernandinho and Yaya Toure were both sent off as City suffered one of their worst nights in four seasons of playing in the competition.
Pellegrini might have had reason to complain about the dismissal of Fernandinho as well as two rejected late Sergio Aguero penalty appeals, but he accepted his team had again failed to deliver.
The result leaves City bottom of Group E with just two points and facing a mountain to climb to reach the next stage with remaining games against Bayern Munich and Roma.
Manchester City 1 CSKA Moscow 2 - player ratings
Manchester City 1 CSKA Moscow 2 - player ratings
1/12 Joe Hart
Poorly beaten at his near post for the crucial second goal, made a couple of decent saves but the mistake may have cost City a place in the knockout phase. 4
2/12 Pablo Zabaleta
As solid and steady in defence as ever, his attacking influence was much more limited than he is used to. 5
3/12 Martin Demichelis
Looked jittery and uncomfortable every time CSKA attacked, and was poorly beaten by Doumbia’s movement for the opening goal. 4
4/12 Vincent Kompany
A poor performance from the City captain, never looked comfortable facing the speed of CSKA’s attackers. 4
5/12 Gael Clichy
Unlucky to be penalised for the handball in the opening stages that led to CSKA’s first goal. Similar performance to the man on the opposite touchline. 5
Was meant to provide a defensive base that would leave City strong when facing the counter but was often overran. Poor in possession. 3
7/12 Yaya Toure
Scored a peach of a free-kick to draw the home side level and was City’s most threatening player before he needlessly lashed out and was shown a straight red. 4
8/12 Jesus Navas
Only broke his anonymity to provide two truly woeful product, was rightly hauled off at half-time. 2
9/12 James Milner
As ever, the Englishman worked his socks off and was City’s best player but will be ruing a missed chance early in the second-half when he could only find the keeper’s leg. 6
10/12 Stevan Jovetic
Wasn’t enough of an attacking threat despite a couple of nice touches, including a dribble that won the free-kick that led to the goal. Also taken off at the half. 4
Always lively and on the move but seemed to forget his shooting boots. Perhaps harsly booked for diving late on – it may not have been a penalty but there was some contact. 5
12/12 From the bench: Fernandinho
Was meant to add a solidity in the centre of midfield that would give more licence for Yaya Toure to push forward. Instead he was sent off for two yellow cards in 25 minutes. 1
Asked for his opinions on the moments of controversy, Pellegrini said in his post-match press conference: "I think it is not my duty to analyse the referee's performance. It is your duty to decide if he made a good decision or bad decision.
"Today the difference was not just the mistakes of the referee. I think we cannot play the way we played today if we want to win.
"I don't want to have any excuse about the way we played. That's why I don't want to link the referee with the result."
City had gone into the game with some optimism after ending a three-game winless streak with a morale-boosting derby win over Manchester United at the weekend.
But their familiar problems in Europe again came to the fore and Pellegrini was puzzled by the lack of spark from his side.
City fell behind within a minute to a firm Seydou Doumbia header and the same player struck again after Toure hit a fine free-kick equaliser.
Pellegrini said: "It is difficult to understand why we played so low a performance. We have just played a good game here against Manchester United.
"We have all our chances to win here at home and play a normal way but when you give two easy goals in the first half and you really don't play with the ball, it is very difficult to win.
"We are in a bad moment with the performance but the only way is to try and arrange is to continue working and work out why there is a lack of trust with the players.
"Normally we are a very disciplined team so for me it is more important we return to our normal performance."
Pellegrini refused to rule out the possibility that his team could still qualify for the last 16.
The Chilean said: "If you have the mathematical option to qualify, you must fight for them. We must first try to play against QPR, then we have the international break and then we are going to try to qualify for the next stage. It is more difficult but it is not impossible."
Pellegrini also revealed captain Vincent Kompany took a kick to the calf late in the game and would be assessed on Thursday.
Toure later used his recently restored Twitter account to apologise for his sending off.
"City fans - I am sorry for my red card. I feel it is important to apologise for this," he wrote.
The match was played against a backdrop of ill feeling between the clubs.
This stemmed back to their meeting in Russia last year which was marred by racist chanting at Toure. There was further controversy when last month's game was officially played behind closed doors but attended by around 300 CSKA fans.
Asked if he took greater satisfaction from the result given the past problems between the clubs, CSKA coach Leonid Slutsky said: "Yes, of course."
Slutsky was also asked if he was surprised his side won so comfortably but he answered with a firm, "It wasn't easy".
He did feel, however, feel that his side had unnerved City.
He said: "The fact there were two red cards awarded makes us feel we had the players very nervous and that is why they got those cards."
Slutsky felt his team executed their gameplan perfectly, although he thought City's recent schedule might have taken its toll on the hosts.
He said: "We hoped for counter-attack and our plan worked. We had chances in the first and second half and we are happy our plan worked.
"But they had a very serious match against Manchester United at the weekend and probably they didn't have time to recover. We had one day more to recover."
One other contentious note from the game was the absence of CSKA's Serbian winger Zoran Tosic due to visa problems.
CSKA media director Sergey Aksenov said: "He had a transit visa. The British authorities thought it was enough. They thought he would be working here, not playing for CSKA.
"We tried to do our best. We approached the Russian embassy and the embassy of Serbia asking them for help but the final decision was for him not to be here and he was sent back before the match."
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