Manchester City skipper Vincent Kompany said Manchester City have to get better if they are to qualify for the last 16 of the Champions League after stumbling to a 2-2 draw away to CSKA Moscow on Tuesday.
The English champions seemed set for a vital three points in Group E when they established a 2-0 halftime lead but a poor second half left them still awaiting their first victory in this year's competition.
Seydou Doumbia halved the deficit and Bebars Natcho converted a late penalty to leave City third in the group.
"It is always a matter of small margins in this competition," Kompany, who believed his side was denied a clear penalty in the first half, told reporters.
"Obviously our first half was good and our second half was not good. Things went against us that for me influenced the game in a way that was difficult for us.
"But we will look at ourselves and we know we have to win and we know it has to be better."
In the surreal atmosphere of an empty stadium it was City who settled into their stride midway through the first half after CSKA had spurned a couple of good opportunities, the best of which fell to Ahmed Musa who was denied by an excellent last ditch tackle by Eliaquim Mangala.
Goals from Sergio Aguero, who scored his fifth in three meetings against CSKA and James Milner put City in control but they allowed the hosts back into the game.
The introduction of Doumbia galvanized CSKA and the Ivorian's energy proved too much for a City who appeared to run out of steam in the second half.
Manager Manuel Pellgrini suggested his side had looked jaded in the second half on a chilly night in Moscow.
"I think maybe we didn't have the pace in the second half, and didn't move the ball as we did in the first half," he said.
"We didn't have one chance to score and then they scored that penalty," he added.
A draw gave CSKA their first point and kept alive their remote hopes of grabbing a spot in the last 16, although Zoran Tosic, once of Manchester United, was not celebrating.
"A victory is when you win three points and it does not matter who you play against," the Serbia international said.
"When you win, you win. It is not a bad result as we were playing against a strong opponent and we were 2-0 down.
"We came back and scored two goals so I think we can be happy with that."
With Bayern Munich running away with the group, the second spot is still up for grabs but City goalkeeper Joe Hart said te return match against CSKA was now a must-win.
"It's going to be difficult but I think we are more than capable of qualifying from this group," the England keeper said.
"Our return leg against Moscow – we have got to concentrate about this first and let the other two do what they need to do."