Micah Richards admitted Manchester City had not often practised playing with a three-man defence prior to their 3-1 defeat to Ajax, claiming the team prefer to play with a back four.
Richards and his City team-mates, who employed a 3-5-2 formation midway through Wednesday evening, have claimed just one point from their three Champions League matches this campaign, and are in serious danger of missing the knockout phase of the competition. Manager Roberto Mancini shouldered the blame in the wake of the shock loss, and Richards found it difficult to disagree.
"It is something that we've not worked on a lot," he told Sky Sports. "We're used to a straight four and it's twice we've gone to a back five and conceded, but the manager likes it and if we want to do well we're going to have to work on it a little bit more.
"The players just want to play. It's a hard system because we're not used to it but I think the players prefer a 4-4-2 but he's the manager and we do what he says."
However, the City defender made no excuses for his side's poor performance, insisting Ajax deserved the victory. Richards, though, maintains the club have not given up hope of progressing out of the group stage.
"I think we got beat by a very good Ajax side tonight. First half, when we went 1-0 up, they were probably the better team. But in the second half we just crumbled. Very disappointed with the lads' performance tonight.
"After last season when we got 10 points but didn't get through and when we got drawn this group, we knew it was going to be a tough one.
"But we were disappointing today, I thought we were going to come here and get the three points but it's not to be. We'll come in tomorrow and we'll see where the group's at.
"It's hard because, no disrespect to Ajax but you want to come here and win. We didn't do that tonight, but we'll look to the next game and see what we can do," said Richards.