Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini was left frustrated after watching his side drop two vital points in a goalless encounter against West Brom at The Hawthorns.
The Blues' Premier League title challenge suffered a significant setback and they now top the table by virtue of goal difference alone.
City's expensively assembled squad failed to score for the first time in the Premier League this season despite Mario Balotelli hitting the crossbar and having a goal disallowed which left the Italian disappointed with his side's lack of bite in front of goal
He told Sky Sports: "It was frustrating because we didn't score and if you don't score in games like this, then it can prove difficult to win.
"We had the chances but maybe we had chances to score two or three goals in the first half, but after if you don't score they defended with all players so it's difficult to find a good solution.
"But in the second half, we had a good chance but that's it."
Albion set out to defend their 18-yard box which worked out well in the end, but Mancini felt his side needed to break the deadlock early in the contest.
He said: "We wanted to have more possession, but we knew before the game, I said to the players, 'if we don't score in this game very quickly, it could be difficult after' and in the second half they stayed with all their men behind the ball and they started to play counter-attacking football and sometimes you can end up losing this type of game."
Mancini admitted he is now expecting a real battle at the top of the table after Manchester United's victory over Wigan, adding: "It will be good and better for us. But we are on the top because of goal difference and we know that it's impossible to stay at the top for 38 games but we will try."