Pep Guardiola placed the blame squarely with his players for throwing away a two-goal lead to draw with Tottenham, despite being denied a clear penalty.
Two Hugo Lloris errors gifted Leroy Sane and Kevin De Bruyne goals to put City in command of a game that they dominated from start to finish.
But Dele Alli struck back shortly after De Bruyne's goal and Son Heung-min snatched a point less than a minute after Kyle Walker's blatant shove on Raheem Sterling in the box went unpunished by referee Andre Marriner.
City had burst out of the blocks in the first half, but failed to score with a host of clear chances, and this was the focus of Guardiola's ire, rather than Marriner's misstep.
He told BT Sport: "We played very good, we missed a lot of chances and when this happens, you cannot win.
"It's what has happened all season. We create more, concede a few.
"We are not going to achieve big targets because always in our performances like Everton [a 4-0 loss], like Chelsea [a 3-1 loss] we are not able to score so it's impossible, we keep trying, we keep trying and we get nothing.
"First thing, we missed a lot of chances. We are playing against Tottenham and Tottenham is a top, top, top, top team.
"When you make chances, the referee doesn't matter, but when you miss the chances people use the referees [as an excuse]."