Pellegrini: City must improve

The Premier League champions needed an injury-time free-kick from James Milner to prevent a third successive home defeat in all competitions after David Meyler had given Hull the lead in the first half.

However, City, now seven points behind Chelsea, face an uphill battle to retain their title and have won one of their last six Premier League games while the league leaders won 2-1 at Aston Villa to stretch their advantage.

???We must improve because teams are playing with 10 players behind the ball and we cannot create or score,??? Pellegrini told Sky Sports. ???Every point you lose is more difficult, to recover seven is more difficult than five but you never know.

???We are not thinking about Chelsea, they have a seven-point lead in the table but they can also lose games. More important for us is recovering our attacking performance.???

The defending champions were largely lacklustre against Hull as they failed to win for the fifth successive match in all competitions.

???We had a lot of possession, we worked, ran, recovered the ball, but you need ideas when you have to play against teams like Hull, Middlesbrough or Arsenal who come here with nine or 10 players behind the ball,??? said Pellegrini.

???It is frustrating because the team is working a lot throughout the game. We had a lot of possession, we did everything we could to win but we didn???t have clear ideas to create space or high performances in the attacking zone.???

Man City will be boosted by the return of Wilfried Bony and Yaya Toure from the Africa Cup of Nations this week but Pellegrini refused to blame his side???s poor form on their absence.

???They will help but more than thinking about them we have to think about the players playing this moment,??? he said. ???Maybe we have to find another way to play. It???s difficult to know exactly one reason (for the dip in form).???