Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini has denied Premier League rivals have worked his team out.
City were held to a goalless draw by Everton on Wednesday despite dominating the chances and remain three points behind league leaders Arsenal.
But Pellegrini is confident that was an aberration, saying: “One of the things this team is not is predictable. We have so many different ways to play – with two strikers, with one striker, without strikers.
“We’ve changed the tactical system a lot of times so I think we continue being, after three seasons when I’m in charge, the top scoring team of the Premier League. Not only at home but away also, we always try to be an offensive team.
“If we don’t score once, having 17 shots at goal, it’s just an accident, but I don’t think it’s because our rivals know the way they must play.
“Not one team in the Premier League has played against our team hand to hand, they are always waiting for us, with eight or nine players behind the ball near their box. We try to make the movement to create space.”
City made their first January signing on Friday with the capture of midfielder Anthony Caceres from Central Coast Mariners for an undisclosed fee.
But the Australian is a low-key recruit who may come into first-team contention at some point in the future and Pellegrini again insisted he is happy with the squad he has.
The European transfer market took on a different look on Thursday when Real and Atletico Madrid were both banned from registering new players for two transfer windows.
They will both appeal, which will buy them some time and could potentially defer a final decision until after the summer window.
The speculation is Real would then go on a spending splurge in the summer, with City striker Sergio Aguero among those linked to the Spanish giants.
Pellegrini declined to comment on Aguero but insisted City are on the right track to rival Real as a destination for the very best players.
The Chilean said: “I think it’s a club that wants to be on the same level. I think we are improving every year in achievement, in the way the club is growing in every department.
“Real Madrid has a long and important story but I am sure this club is going in the correct way to try to do it.”
City face Crystal Palace on Saturday for the third time this season.
They secured a late win in the league at Selhurst Park in September before a very convincing 5-1 victory in the Capital One Cup.
Nigerian striker Kelechi Iheanacho has scored in both games, and Pellegrini could be tempted to give him more game time this weekend.
The City boss said: “I always say with young players, if they are working every day with the team and they play some games, they must take their chance, and I think every time Kelechi has played, he has done very well.
“We talked to the FA last season to have his work permit (sorted) because I especially think he will be a very important player.”
Pellegrini will select from the same squad that faced Everton, with Vincent Kompany, Eliaquim Mangala, Fernandinho, Samir Nasri and Wilfried Bony all still out.
Meanwhile, Pellegrini confirmed Caceres is likely to be loaned out.
“He will come here but probably he will go on loan,” said the 62-year-old.
“He’s not part of the squad at this moment. The club are always thinking about the future.”
An obvious destination for Caceres would be City’s A-League sister club Melbourne City.
Melbourne boss John van’t Schip was coy on any loan move, with the Dutchman quoted in the Australian press saying: “Manchester City is getting him in. More or less, that’s it.
“We can’t comment on (a potential loan move) but of course everybody knows he’s a good player, he’s one of the better players in the A-League. So we’ll just have to see.”