And boss disappointed City winner was allowedSTEVE Clarke admitted he was gutted to lose 1-0 at Manchester City, insisting his players deserved at least a draw.
The Baggies - sporting an unfamiliar 3-5-2 formation - pushed last season’s champions all the way.
And, with TV replays showing Carlos Tevez was offside in the build-up to the decisive goal, the visitors were unfortunate to be trailing Edin Dzeko’s 35th-minute strike at the break.
Albion controlled the second half at the Etihad Stadium and only the woodwork prevented Markus Rosenberg equalising before Joe Hart had to be at his best to deny Billy Jones and James Morrison.
“We were disappointed to lose,” said Clarke.
“I feel for my players.
“They put in a really good performance.
“I made some changes and Manchester City made some changes as well.
“It was a game we should certainly have got something out of.
“We started really well."
Clarke added: “We changed the shape tonight and tried something different.
“If I’m honest, I would have liked at least another training session at it.
“But the players’ application and the way they put the system into practice was excellent. I think we maybe caught Manchester City out.
“In the early stages, we should have been in front.
“But then we were so comfortable in the game we got a little bit cocky and carried away.
“We made a few mistakes which invited City back into the game and if you do that with quality players you get punished.”
The Albion chief gave his verdict on the goal that separated the two sides.
“I knew the goal was offside because the linesman was two yards behind play,” he said.
“He was standing right in front of me and was looking at the ball when it was passed forward.
“He didn’t get the decision right.
“I don’t like complaining too much about officials and decisions because decisions are what the game is all about.
“But when you come to a ground like the Etihad Stadium and you’re playing a team of the quality of Manchester City, you need the decisions to be correct.
“If the decisions are correct, you can live with that.”