MARK HUGHES cited a lack of a 'killer instinct' as the reason why Stoke City failed to clinch a victory over Manchester City they so richly deserved.
The Potters dominated for much of the game at the Britannia Stadium but unfortunately spurned the goal-scoring opportunities that came their way.
Jon Walters had chances on either side of half-time and Kenwyne Jones was also guilty of failing to take advantage in front of goal, while visiting 'keeper Joe Hart pulled off a stunning save to prevent Jack Rodwell scoring an own goal.
Hughes was delighted with so many aspects of his side's display but the manager told www.stokecityfc.com: "It's disappointing that we haven't beaten Manchester City.
"I thought we made them look quite ordinary. In terms of chances created and general play I thought we were the better side and were always looking to be positive.
"There were a lot of pluses for us, although the fact that we haven't taken our chances is the only disappointment.
"Box to box we were excellent but we just needed a little bit more guile in the final third and a killer instinct that today we didn't have.
"But the lads are playing exceptionally well at the moment; I'm really enjoying what they are producing.
"Jon Walters will be disappointed that he didn't take the chances that came his way but he put a hell of a shift in for us today and his overall game was excellent, as so many others were."
Hughes handed debuts to his deadline day signings Marko Arnautovic and Stephen Ireland, who both joined the action as substitutes with 20 minutes remaining as the Potters went in search of an elusive goal.
"It would have been very easy to shut up shop but I had a real feeling that we could win the game and it was important we were positive," he added.
"Stephen still needs more game time but he will come on, while you can see from the little cameo that Marko had that he's going to be a real crowd-pleaser.
"Once he gets into his stride and understands the Premier League more we'll have a hell of a player on our hands."