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Saturday 16 December 2017

James Milner: We can't afford any more title slip-ups

Manchester City's English midfielder James Milner
Manchester City's English midfielder James Milner
Hull City's David Meyler celebrates scoring his teams first goal against Manchester City,

James Milner conceded Manchester City might have suffered a telling blow in the title race despite his late rescue act against Hull.

England midfielder Milner struck a superb injury-time free-kick to snatch a 1-1 draw at the Etihad Stadium after a troubled afternoon against the relegation battlers.

The result left the champions seven points behind Premier League leaders Chelsea and needing inspiration to get the defence of their crown back on track.

Milner said: "We can't really afford too many more slip-ups, if any. Chelsea have a big lead now but it's down to us to see how many points we can get.

"We know, more than anyone, you have to keep going to the death and anything can happen, but I think we have got to be pretty faultless between now and the end of the season to get close."

City have already recovered from a bigger deficit this season, having trailed Chelsea by eight points in November. A good run of form in December saw them pull level with the Londoners before the end of 2014, and they could even have gone ahead had they not been pegged back to a 2-2 draw by Burnley.

Hull's reward came in the 35th minute when Irish star David Meyler turned home a rebound after Gaston Ramirez had struck the post with a shot fired amid some chaotic scenes in the City defence.

It seemed Hull might hold on but there was still time for Milner, a 66th-minute substitute, to have the final say by bending a fine free-kick around the wall.

For Hull, it was hard to take after such a battling display but it was still a good point and they now go into tomorrow's home clash against Aston Villa with renewed spirits.

Manager Steve Bruce said: "We've now got a huge game on Tuesday and we need to produce a performance we can relish, like we did here."

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