Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini says his title-chasing side are lacking creativity after they narrowly avoided a home defeat to Hull on Saturday.
James Milner's stoppage-time free-kick salvaged a point for City after David Meyler's 35th-minute opener for Hull.
Champions City have now gone four league games without a win and trail league leaders Chelsea by seven points.
"I think we tried always to find the space but we couldn't. We have a lack of ideas," Pellegrini told BBC Sport.
"If you see the team you don't see that we are tired or that we are not fighting; we run a lot and have a lot of possession.
"We really played and I think the team has order and spirit but we don't have the creative players in this moment to create the space and it is very difficult against a team like Hull, who defend very well.
"With the ball, we are not creating the space and dangerous situations in their box."
City have been without influential midfielder Yaya Toure since the FA Cup third-round win over Sheffield Wednesday on 4 January because of his involvement in the Africa Cup of Nations, which has also deprived them of striker Wilfried Bony, who they signed from Swansea for £28m last month.
|Former England midfielder Danny Murphy on Match of the Day:|
|"The gap at the top of the table is growing and the gap by the time Yaya Toure and Wilfried Bony return from the Africa Cup of Nations...it could be too late. They signed a player who can't play until February and it was a risk."|
Leading scorer Sergio Aguero has also yet to hit top form since returning from a month out injured.
Prior to Saturday's game, City had failed to score in successive 2-0 home defeats, against Arsenal in the Premier League and Championship side Middlesbrough in the FA Cup, leading to Pellegrini bringing in striker Edin Dzeko for Milner for the Hull game.
However, this failed to pay dividends and it was only substitute Milner's late intervention that prevented them falling to defeat.
|Worrying form for title-chasing Manchester City|
|This is the first time Manchester City have gone four Premier League games without a win since November 2009. They have also conceded the first goal of the game in their last three Premier League matches.|
"Before this game, with Jesus Navas and with Milner as wingers we didn't score against Arsenal or against Middlesbrough so we tried to make a change, but we still didn't create many chances," said Pellegrini.
"The only way to put it right is to keep working and have a clear diagnostic of what we must improve."
City's defeat further strengthens the position of Chelsea, who won 2-1 at Aston Villa on Saturday.
However, Pellegrini believes there is still plenty to play for in the title race.
"Before the game, a draw is a very bad point but after, when you get the draw in the 93rd minute from a free-kick, maybe it is not so bad," he added.
"It is more difficult the more points that Chelsea have but in football you never know. It is more important to think about returning to our normal level of performance."