Hughes: We missed star players

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Manchester City manager Mark Hughes was left to rue the absence of key players after the 1-1 draw at Fulham.

Defensive talisman Micah Richards, top scorer Robinho and creative playmaker Elano were all absent for the stalemate, which did little to relieve the pressure of being uncomfortably close to the relegation zone.

Hughes said: "We brought Robinho down with us with the intention of him hopefully playing. He had treatment all (Friday) and all last evening and we got him out of bed early this morning in the hope that there had been significant improvement but unfortunately there wasn't and he wasn't able to play. It was the same situation with Micah and (Javier) Garrido and a number of others."

He added: "Given the number of senior players I had out, which was something like 12, we should be reasonably happy.

"But going into an early lead, you hope to built on that but they got back on level terms and that was a disappointment."

Benjani put City ahead in the sixth minute with a towering header but thereafter the visitors lacked both invention and conviction going forward, and Fulham scored a deserved equaliser midway through the first half courtesy of Jimmy Bullard.

The draw extended Fulham's unbeaten run to five games, but was also the third without a win.

Their form at Craven Cottage has been impressive this campaign, with five wins from eight, so manager Roy Hodgson was disappointed not to take three points from this encounter.

"We had a poor start which cost us a goal, which you can't complain about because we didn't defend the cross well," said Hodgson. "Our tempo in the first 15 minutes was poor.

"What pleased me most was that we got ourselves back on track. We played some good football during the rest of the first half which led to a fantastic equaliser. But you need to win matches and get three-pointers behind you."

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Jimmy Bullard
Manchester City
Mark Hughes
Premier League
Micah Richards
Mark Hughes

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