Norwich City manager Alex Neil lamented basic errors made by his defence in the last-gasp 2-1 Premier League defeat at Manchester City.
Manuel Pellegrini’s league leaders had been in rampant form of late, scoring 16 times in their past three domestic home matches – an ominous sign for Norwich, who lost 7-0 on their previous visit to the Etihad Stadium in November 2013.
But Neil’s men contained their opponents, while showing enough attacking intent themselves, until Nicolas Otamendi was allowed room to plant home a header from Kevin De Bruyne’s 67th-minute corner.
The stand-out mistake of the match came from England goalkeeper Joe Hart, who inexplicably spilt Robbie Brady’s cross to give Norwich striker Cameron Jerome a tap-in seven minutes from time.
Decisively, Hart’s opposite number John Ruddy also erred to spark panic inside the visitors’ penalty area – captain Russell Martin receiving a red card for handling Raheem Sterling’s resulting goalbound shot before Yaya Toure dispatched the 89th-minute penalty.
City might have enjoyed a greater margin of victory when Sterling won a second spot-kick deep into stoppage time, but Aleksandar Kolarov blasted wide with the final kick of the game.
“I thought we limited Man City to very little, but if you’re going to lose a goal away to the top teams, you want it to be from a bit of quality, so to lose one to a set-piece is disappointing,” Neil said.
“Then we made mistakes at the back for the second goal and it cost us the game. If people do their jobs properly and do the basics right, the rest of our game has been good.”
The loss was Norwich’s fourth in succession in the Premier League and leaves them two points above the relegation zone.
“It’s hard to take when you do so much, so well,” Neil added. “We have to go again next week now.”