Mark Hughes felt elements of his team’s performance against Man City summed up the story of their season so far.

After the game Pep Guardiola admitted that Saints had created as many chances against City as any other team to face them at the Etihad this season, and yet they were compressively beaten 6-1.

Danny Ings’ first half penalty did at least halt a run of five consecutive top flight games without a goal for Saints, but it was scant consolation as City romped to victory.

“We have come up against City and created a number of chances again,” said a rueful Hughes.

“Our shots on target are right up there in comparison to how clinical Man City were and how we were with our chances and that’s been the story from the beginning of the season – we get good moments but at times we pick the wrong option or don’t take clear cut chances that we create.

“We need to improve that at the top end of the pitch and clearly we needed to improve the back end as well.”

He added: “City will ask different questions and they will ask those questions on more repetitive occasions and time and time again they will keep knocking on your door and keep on creating one v one situations in key areas of the pitch and they just pick you off.

“You can come here and get everybody behind the ball and try and see out 90 minutes. I have done that in the past and still got beaten.

“We came here with a game plan we thought might enable us to get higher up the pitch. I think it did in the second half but first half clearly we didn’t get the defensive side of our game right.”

It was the opening period of the match that cost Saints as they fell 3-0 down after just 18 minutes, leaving them with an impossible task.

Hughes was visibly annoyed by the way Saints were defending in the early stages.

“We were more than a little bit too passive,” he admitted.

“When you’ve got the likes of David Silva and Raheem Sterling winning headers in your box that can’t happen if we’re honest.

“Seeing that happen you think we need to be more aggressive and determined in our defensive play and we can’t allow those players time and opportunity to affect us like they were doing.

“That was a frustration for me because we talked a lot about what we were going to do and very quickly that game plan went out of the window so that was why I was frustrated.”