Birmingham - Manuel Pellegrini had a warning for Manchester City's Premier League title rivals after the frustration of drawing a blank in a 0-0 draw with bottom of the table Aston Villa.
The goalless stalemate saw leaders City drop two points, although the loss was not as bad as it might have been after second-placed Arsenal missed the chance to leapfrog Pellegrini's side at the summit after being held to a 1-1 draw in the North London derby against Tottenham Hotspur later Sunday.
Domestic league action is now put on hold for the international break, which City manager Pellegrini believes should aid his side.
Although City saw Wilfried Bony suffer a hamstring injury at Villa Park, they should have several key figures back to bolster their squad after the two-week interval.
"You never know if the international break comes at the right moment or not, but it certainly gives some important players the chance to recover," said Pellegrini.
"We have finished this part of the season very well. I hope that we return better after the internationals with these important players available," the Chilean added.
Pellegrini said City would not know the full extent of Bony's hamstring injury until Monday, although key forward Sergio Aguero is one of those "important players" who are likely to be ready for a return following the international break.
Without both of their recognised strikers, City fired blanks at Villa, although pre-season signings Raheem Sterling and Kevin de Bruyne should have done better when given gilt-edged chances in the second half.
"Sometimes these things happen in football," said Pellegrini. "I am disappointed about the result, but I have nothing to complain (about) to our team.
"They (Villa) had one chance and after that we dominated the game. We were very unlucky in three of four key options that we had.
"We have an injury to our striker (Bony) at the beginning of the game which is important in this kind of game, but we had chances to win it."