Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini insists he is still short of players despite splashing out a whopping £210 million since taking charge of the English Premier League club.
City failed to protect a 2-0 lead on Sunday and were pegged back to 2-2 by Fulham at Craven Cottage. Two goals inside 46 minutes from Sergio Aguero appeared to have given the visitors a comfortable lead, but Fulham recovered to claim a point thanks to goals from Bobby Zamora and Danny Murphy in the second half.
The result meant City lost their 100 per cent domestic record this season and fell two points behind Manchester United at the head of the table. Mancini claims he was short on options to freshen up the side, despite overseeing a major spending programme over the last 18 months at Eastlands.
He complained that injuries to James Milner and Nigel de Jong had weakened his squad in the key midfield area as he attempts to juggle the demands of competing in the UEFA Champions League and the Premier League. He made just two changes following the midweek 1-1 draw with Napoli and said: "I don't have players at this moment, I can only change the full-backs or the strikers.
"I have only two midfield players, as Milner and De Jong are injured. We're lacking players at this moment. All the players played well. No team comes here and has 75 per cent possession. When you have this much possession away and only score one goal in the first half it's a problem. We had the same problem against Wigan. We had 50 chances in the first half and scored only one goal."
Mancini added: "After 2-0 it feels like a defeat, but it could be a lesson for us. When you dominate a game like us today for 60 minutes and score only two goals it's a problem.
"For 10-15 minutes afterwards Fulham played very well, but a football match finishes after 90 minutes. Every game is like this in England. If a team is losing 2-0 they do not finish playing. They keep fighting and scored quickly. For 10-15 minutes all the team should have worked better. All the payers need to defend. For 10 minutes we only defended with five or six players which is not good enough. We lacked the killer quality."
Aguero took his personal tally to an impressive eight goals in his first five Premier League games but Mancini admitted the result took the edge off another impressive personal performance. "I'm happy with Aguero," he said. "But next time it's better that he scores once and we win."
Fulham boss Martin Jol was relieved at the way his side fought back and claimed the point that moved them off the foot of the table. The west London side are still looking for their first league victory of the season but the Dutch manager believes the manner in which they performed bodes well for the rest of the campaign.
"The spirit will always be 100 per cent if you get the results and we haven't been getting the results, it's as simple as that," Jol said. "But to perform like that against a team like that and show you can come back and score two goals, must give us a big boost and confidence for the future."
The unwanted tag of sitting bottom had weighed heavily, admitted Jol, but he claimed there are more grounds for optimism. "It was awful being at the bottom," he said. "You have to win your home games. It was not a nice thing to see that we were bottom of the league. Now we are 18th. It's better."