Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini feels his squad has lacked the depth to cover for absences to key players this season.
Mancini failed to secure any of his prime targets in last summer's transfer market and his team have subsequently failed to produce the strong title defence many anticipated.
Despite producing results most teams would envy, City have under-achieved and, trailing Manchester United by 15 points at the top of the Barclays Premier League, their title bid seems doomed.
There are a number of reasons for that but injuries to Vincent Kompany, David Silva and Sergio Aguero at various times, as well as Yaya Toure's involvement in the African Nations Cup, have been unsettling.
Mancini said: "When we have all the players to choose from it is easier.
"We had a lot of important players injured at crucial moments.
"We are not a team who can play for a long time without Vinny, Yaya, Sergio, Silva, Samir (Nasri). They are really important for us."
Yet while that may highlight a lack of squad depth compared to United, Mancini feels an element of bad luck is also involved.
He said: "Every team - if United lose (Robin) van Persie, (Wayne) Rooney, (Michael) Carrick or (Nemanja) Vidic together for two or three months it would be difficult."
Mancini defended his side in the light of remarks from Newcastle midfielder Yohan Cabaye, who said prior to last weekend's game at the Etihad Stadium that City were a team of individuals rather than a cohesive unit.
City went on to sweep the Magpies aside 4-0 in one of their best displays of the season.
Mancini said: "Every team has individuals. If you don't have a good team you can't win. We have good players.
"If we are in second position we are one of the best teams in the Premier League.
"But everyone can have their opinion."
While it does not appear City will be winning another league crown this season, they still have a chance of claiming the FA Cup for a second time in three seasons.
For a team that went 35 years without winning a trophy prior to 2011, that still represents considerable progress and Mancini feels people should not forget how far the club have come.
He said: "We are young as a strong team. We always need to improve our team.
"If we lose three or four players together it is difficult."
With Mancini having conceded defeat in the title race, City appeared to play without pressure against Newcastle.
But while Mancini was pleased with the performance, he would much rather they were playing with the pressure a close title race would bring.
He said: "When you play for a strong team like us, you always have pressure. You should have pressure.
"We are in second, we want to win. We know that we should work hard because Tottenham are close, Chelsea the same."