Mark Hughes is understandably disappointed after his City side lost a two-goal lead to Liverpool, the visitors snatching Sunday’s game through Dirk Kuyt’s injury-time winner.
A dramatic afternoon at the City of Manchester Stadium also saw City right-back Pablo Zabaleta sent off with 24 minutes to go after fouling Xabi Alonso. The Blues were two up at the break thanks to Stephen Ireland and Javi Garrido, the left-back’s superb free kick being his first goal for City
Reflecting on the day’s events, Hughes said: “We were in great shape at half-time, I thought we played some of the best stuff we have done so far this season. We caused a very good Liverpool side some problems, but going in two goals up you expect a response from a top-four side like them.
“The disappointing thing was that we had talked about that at half time, and to allow them back so early was a disappointment. We were still very much in it at 2-1, but the sending-off changed the game from our point of view. The extra man was always going to make it difficult, we had to hang in but we could not keep them out.
“There were errors leading up to both of the last two goals, and we will have to work on that. I don’t think we deserved to lose the game today, we put in a huge effort but it was not to be. That’s the difference, a side like Liverpool who have been at the top for a long, long time can keep going and see games to a conclusion. We showed frailties that are there because we are early in our development as a team, but we are showing good signs in attack. We just have to be resolute and see games to their conclusion.”
Of Zabaleta’s sending off, a straight red card shown by referee Walton, the Manager added:
“I often look for the response from the opposition, and with this there were not crowds of players around the referee. Pablo clearly played the ball, but made contact with Alonso’s standing leg. Alonso was not hurt by the challenge, he rode it well but I can see why the referee gave it.
“We should not dwell on the negatives, we need to look at the positive aspects of what we are trying to do. We are really good to watch, but we understand we have frailties – and come January we will try to address them.”