Pep Guardiola is at a loss to explain Manchester City’s sudden lack of potency in front of goal.
The champions have scored 102 times in all competitions this season but the goals have dried up in the last two games, despite the team continuing to create a multitude of chances.
City had 13 shots on goal to Manchester United’s six in the second leg of their Carabao Cup semi-final and 19 efforts to Tottenham’s three in their Premier League game in north London last week.
Remarkably they lost both matches.
City boss Guardiola said: “I don’t know. I would like to find the explanation. In every single game we concede less (chances) and create more.
“I don’t have any energy, any power or knowledge to say something wrong about my players. I know they want to score goals, score the penalties.
“Honestly, we concede few against the big clubs and we create a lot, but we miss a lot of chances. They arrive once or twice and score. We have to improve on that.
“Putting the ball in the net is the most difficult thing in football and we are going to try to improve. We scored so many goals and now we don’t. I don’t have an explanation.”
Given City’s past record and their continuing ability to dominate games, Guardiola is not overly concerned but he accepts “something is missing”.
I don’t see in the last games that the people dropped or gave up. I don’t have that feeling
Guardiola, whose side host struggling West Ham on Sunday, said: “It’s not about concern, I’m just sad for my players. I suffer for them because I know they want to do it.
“I don’t see in the last games that the people dropped or gave up. I don’t have that feeling.
“I see the training sessions and the rhythm that we’ve had in the past years. We got one point from two games against Spurs but played really well. The way I play, I like it. Not playing the way I want would be a problem.
“But the business is winning and if you don’t we have a problem. We have a big rival (Liverpool) 22 points ahead and that means something is missing and something is not good.”
Guardiola still rates his team highly despite their failure to keep pace with Liverpool in a disappointing title defence this season.
He said: “I think we are a good team. I like the way we’ve played this season, but we cannot deny it’s big – 22 points.
“We didn’t expect it but that’s the reality, we have to accept it and learn.
“But I like my team. I don’t have not many bad opinions about our performance.”