Manchester City assistant boss David Platt admitted the champions were not "at it" after a damaging 2-0 loss at 10-man Everton at Goodison Park.
City suffered a potentially fatal blow to their hopes of retaining their Barclays Premier League title as they were beaten by their bogey side. Leon Osman and Nikica Jelavic struck as the Toffees responded to their critics after their FA Cup quarter-final loss to Wigan by beating City for a sixth time in eight meetings as Steven Pienaar was sent off on the hour.
Manager Roberto Mancini did not appear for interviews, leaving first-team coach Platt to answer questions and - when asked why Mancini did not speak - Platt told Sky Sports: "He is a bit angry, as you can imagine. He is just taking stock of the situation and calming down. He doesn't want to come out here and say anything that might get him in trouble."
Everton had another goal from Kevin Mirallas harshly ruled out for offside and Marouane Fellaini was denied a penalty in the first half, while City could have had their own penalty with the score still 1-0 in the closing minutes but Everton held out despite playing the last half-hour with 10 men.
When asked what Mancini might be angry about, Platt said: "Everything in general, our performance - we weren't really at it throughout the game. We got outworked by Everton. When you do have moments when you can get back into it, it doesn't go for you."
Platt later attempted to clarify his remark about being "outworked" when he spoke to the rest of the press.
He said: "If it has come across like that it certainly wasn't meant. You know they are going to make you work. If you look at the stats - we have probably covered the same amount of distance, shown the same intensity."
City could have had a penalty when a Carlos Tevez shot struck Fellaini's hand inside the box. Referee Lee Probert gave a free-kick on the edge of the area and Aleksandar Kolarov fired into the wall. It was suggested the ball may have hit Osman's hand before Fellaini's, which might explain Probert's decision, but Platt was unsure.
He said: "I didn't see whether it brushed Osman's hand but I don't think that would have been given because it has not stopped the flight of the ball.
"I think it has been given for the Fellaini handball. Is it intentional? No, but having given it, it is two or three yards inside the box. It is a decision that has gone against us."