Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola said “you have to win this kind of game” after his side were held to a frustrating draw by struggling West Brom.
Baggies goalkeeper Sam Johnstone made two point-blank stoppage-time saves to deny City victory and leave Guardiola’s side sixth in the Premier League table, five points off the top.
“It will be a long season but if you want to be up there we have to win here and we could not do it,” he said.
“We created chances, we controlled it but you have to win. This game works on results.”
City seemed on course for a customary home win against West Brom when Ilkay Gundogan applied a first-time finish to Raheem Sterling’s cutback after half an hour.
But the midfielder’s first goal in 22 games was cancelled out before half-time when a volley on the turn from Semi Ajayi, which appeared to be going wide, deflected off Ruben Dias and wrong-footed City keeper Ederson.
It was the first goal City had conceded in 608 minutes in all competitions and was followed by a valiant backs-to-the-wall effort from Slaven Bilic’s visitors, who defended heroically.
It seems that the point may still not be enough to keep Bilic in the job, with the 52-year-old’s exit potentially coming as early as Wednesday.
Uncertainty over Bilic’s future has been fuelled by his admission there have been no talks over a new contract, with his current one due to expire in the summer.