Manchester City defender John Stones says a point against Everton is “difficult to take” after his side were held in a feisty Premier League contest at Etihad Stadium.
The result leaves second-placed City seven points adrift of Arsenal, who extended their lead at the top of the table after beating Brighton on Saturday.
“I don’t really know what to say. I feel like we’ve lost two points,” said Stones.
“It’s difficult to take after the game. We showed great character to keep fighting and pushing. It was a bit of a scrappy game.”
Erling Haaland, noticeably incensed after an early exchange with Everton’s Ben Godfrey that left the Norway striker requiring treatment, finished off a lovely Riyad Mahrez move to open the scoring in the 24th minute.
However, during a tumultuous second half Demarai Gray scored a stunning equaliser after Rodri gave the ball away, making ground down the left and curling home a shot from just inside the area.
City threw what they could at the visitors during 11 minutes of stoppage time, but Everton stifled their attempts to cap off the year with a win.
Stones added: “We controlled the game for the majority of the time and had a lot of chances but couldn’t seem to get that goal.
“I’m very pleased with how we played. The result doesn’t reflect that. When the game is so disrupted, a lot of time-wasting [happens]. We kept creating chances but it didn’t come off.
“We conceded two shots all game but it’s overlooked because of that incredible goal.”
A victory would have seen Pep Guardiola’s side close the gap on his former assistant Mikel Arteta’s relentless Arsenal. After the same number of games last season, City were top of the league and the Gunners were 12 points behind in sixth.
This season, City are trying to win a third successive Premier League title but have dropped points on three more occasions than Arsenal, with the two sides still yet to face each other in the league.