Victor Lindelof claims Manchester United had arch-rivals City looking “quite nervous” on derby day, but concedes the Red Devils were unable to “hurt” the Blues enough to take advantage.
Jose Mourinho’s side made the short trip to the Etihad Stadium on Sunday buoyed by a run of three successive victories across all competitions.
They were, however, to run into defending Premier League champions who are yet to come unstuck in the defence of that crown this season, and Pep Guardiola’s side proved too strong on the day.
Anthony Martial did offer United a lifeline at one stage, as he converted a second-half penalty, but a slow start and disappointing finish ultimately cost the Red Devils dear.
Lindelof told MUTV: “After that goal [from Martial] they were quite nervous and it felt like we could have scored another goal, but they scored a third goal instead, so it happens in football, but we are very, very disappointed, because we felt that we could have scored a second goal and got a better result.
“We had quite a lot of possession, but we didn't really come in behind their defensive line into their last third of the pitch. But we tried and, like I said, it felt like we could've hurt them more.”
The Swedish defender added: “I think we started the game, the first 15 minutes, quite badly.
“They had a lot of possession and we didn't do so much, but after their goal we started to play a little bit and we made it harder for them.
”After we scored after our goal we could have been a bit more aggressive and tried a little bit more but we lost and we're sad about that.”
United now have two weeks in which to lick their derby wounds, with domestic action taking a backseat during the international break.
Lindelof admits he would rather not be heading away with his country on the back of such a result, with there a desire on the part of all of those at Old Trafford to get back out onto a Premier League field and put things right.
“Right now the break has come at the wrong time,” he said.
“Because I feel like in the last couple of weeks we've really improved a lot, we've got some good results and we've been playing better, so we're sad of course for the loss.
”But we know that we can do some good things and, I can just speak for myself, but I want to play more games now.”
United, who return to action against Crystal Palace on November 24, find themselves sat eighth in the Premier League table, 12 points behind leaders City and seven adrift of the top four.