A dejected Ireland comes to terms with defeat in Hamburg
Manchester City midfielder Stephen Ireland said some of his team-mates were not "brave" enough in Thursday's Uefa Cup first-leg defeat in Hamburg.
The Premier League side lost 3-1 after Ireland had put them ahead early on.
"We've got more quality, but at home we need to show it and be braver," he told BBC Radio 5 Live.
"I think at times tonight some people were hiding and when we had our backs against the wall some people were not brave enough to come out and fight."
City were beaten despite having taken a first-minute lead and face an uphill task in the second leg on 16 April.
But boss Mark Hughes says his side are still capable of reaching the Uefa Cup semi-finals.
"It will be difficult to claw back but we are not out of it," Hughes insisted.
"We have shown time and again we can score goals at Eastlands. We have players capable of causing Hamburg problems, as we showed."
Ireland gave City a dream start by scoring after 35 seconds but the joint leaders of the Bundesliga dominated after that and took control with goals from Joris Mathijsen, Piotr Trochowski and Jose Pablo Guerrero.
"We are still in this tie and we are not going to concede it now," added Hughes. "We have got to be positive.
We know it will be difficult if they score first next week but overall I am very happy
Hamburg coach Martin Jol
"We are fully committed to the second leg and will give it a real go."
City had keeper Shay Given to thank for not conceding more goals after he made a string of crucial saves.
"He is an outstanding goalkeeper, who is there to make crucial saves," said Hughes.
"When you are up against a quality side like Hamburg, who are at home, they will have chances.
"We have to defend them and Shay to save them but that situation happens in every game."
Hughes brought Benjani Mwaruwari on as a late substitute but suffered a recurrence of a ruptured thigh muscle.
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