"It's been more of the same from the game against Tottenham," Hughes told Stoke's in-house media channel after the final whistle in Manchester.
Stoke limited what their lofty opponents were able to create in the first half hour at the Etihad Stadium, but a goal given away at a set-piece and a sloppily conceded penalty shortly before half-time left Hughes' team with a mountain to climb.
"I thought we were in the game during the first half, but even then it was very low key and I think Manchester City were quite happy to have a game where there wasn't too much intensity," he said.
"To switch off from the corner, which was something we speak about time and time again, was extremely disappointing and it gave them the ascendency in what was up until then an even contest.
"We had a reaction at the start of the second half and had a couple of good opportunities, whereby had we been able to take one of them then the game would have been open again."
Mark Arnautovic brought a good save out of Joe Hart not long after the restart, while Joselu failed to hit the target from a good position inside the penalty area. Unfortunately for Stoke, City quickly scored a third to move further out of sight.
"Having enjoyed our best period they went up the other end and scored a simple goal," Hughes lamented.
4+ - Stoke are the 3rd team in PL history to concede 4+ goals in three successive games (West Ham in Mar 2008 & Wigan in Aug 2010). Blitzed.— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) April 23, 2016
"The last three games have been extremely poor so we need the next three to be top drawer, because we have the ability to make that happen. It's vital for us now, given the time of the season, to get back on track."
The manager also took the opportunity to address the subject of the cruel cruciate knee ligament injury suffered by Ibrahim Afellay in training on Friday, describing it as a "huge blow".
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