Mauricio Pochettino admitted his side were slow to react when Harry Kane lost the ball before Manchester United's winning goal in Tottenham's 1-0 defeat at Old Trafford.
Kane's mistake was pounced upon by Ander Herrera and the Spaniard threaded a pass to Henrikh Mkhitaryan, who lashed home his first Premier League goal for United with aplomb.
The goal proved to be enough to separate the two teams, but Pochettino defended his side's performance.
He said: "It was an even game, very competitive. I'm not disappointed with our performance. We competed in a difficult game.
"The chances we create were similar to what Manchester United created but they were clinical.
"We had a lack of reaction when we lost the ball and that was how we allowed them to score. We need to understand that our offensive players need to take a risk.
"We tried to play with our philosophy and we tried to create chances."
The defeat was only Spurs' second of the season in the Premier League, but it left them 10 points behind leaders Chelsea after 15 games played.
Pochettino insisted his side were by no means out of the title race and pointed to Chelsea's revival under Antonio Conte as evidence that fortunes can change quickly in English football.
He said: "We are in a good position and it is a long way to the end of the season.
"We're not too concerned. The Premier League is tough. Chelsea started the season very badly and then they changed their system and look now how they are. We need to believe.
"United are the same as us – they still have time to reduce the gap."