Manchester United assistant manager Carlos Queiroz blamed a hangover from international football for his side’s defeat by Manchester City.
City beat their rivals 2-1 to record their first win at Old Trafford since 1974, but Queiroz believes his players had not recovered from the exertion of playing in the midweek international friendly games.
“We believe the team was affected by international call-ups,” said Queiroz.
“But talking about that would be an excuse. It was not our day. We didn’t play well and need to accept that.”
England’s players undertook two training sessions a day in Fabio Capello’s first get-together as manager of the national team.
“It was really unusual to see a couple of our players playing so slow, without tempo and making mistakes,” added Queiroz.
“That’s never happened before and if it is a coincidence we will let other people decide.
“The reality is that the players have been affected. Not only the English players but others like Ronaldo and Vidic were not so sharp.”
Queiroz admitted that United had been nowhere near their best.
“We didn’t play in the right way,” he added. “Manchester City were really difficult to play against because they were very organised and compact waiting for the counter-attack, which they did very well.
“Individual mistakes, collective mistakes and the way City played was, in my opinion, the explanation why we did not take three points.
“We lost a lot of duels and that was something strange for us.”
Arsenal can now move five points head of United at the top of the Premier League table if they beat Blackburn on Monday.
Queiroz hopes United will bounce back from this setback by beating Arsenal in next weekend’s FA Cup encounter.
“I am really disappointed by the result. It is always a disappointing day for us when we lose but especially because it was an important day for us,” he said.
“But we are going to prepare ourselves for next week and beating Arsenal.”