Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson was magnanimous in defeat after Gabriel Agbonlahor struck in the first half to earn Aston Villa a 1-0 win at Old Trafford.
United could have drawn level with Chelsea at the top of the table but instead suffered their fourth Premier League defeat of the season after falling behind to Agbonlahor's goal and then failing to break down a resolute Villa defence.
"Second half I think we deserved something," Ferguson told ESPN. "There wasn't much in it first half, they probably just shaded it and deserved the goal. Second half we pummelled them, had a lot of good chances and didn't get any. It's just one of those days it wasn't going in."
Ferguson was aggrieved, once again, at the lack of stoppage time and believes time-keeping should no longer be the referee's responsibility.
"You get to the point on adding time on, it should be taken out of the referee's hands," he said. "There were two stoppages of two minutes three seconds and we played three minutes (stoppage time)."
Ferguson does not believe the defeat, coming after Chelsea drew 3-3 with Everton this afternoon, hampers United's title chances too greatly. "It's not an easy league. I say that time and time again. If we get to January within touching distance of the leaders then we're in with a great chance."
Man of the match Gabriel Agbonlahor praised Aston Villa's team ethic as Martin O'Neill's side secured a 1-0 win over Manchester United in another intriguing twist to the Barclays Premier League title race.
Villa survived a late onslaught to claim their first Old Trafford win since 1983 and inflict United's fourth loss of the season. Villa are now in third, as they added the Red Devils to the scalps of Chelsea and Liverpool which have already been collected in another fine campaign.
"Previous seasons we've come here and gone in front they've come back and beaten us," Agbonlahor told ESPN. "We're keeping clean sheets, so it's down to the defence. We worked hard for each other out there, all 11 players defending for the team and got the result."
Martin O'Neill is determined not to let his Aston Villa players get carried away by their momentous victory.
"This win will give us a great deal of confidence but that could quickly be eroded at Sunderland on Tuesday,'' he said. "It is a really great win, and I am not trying to play it down, but the main thing is the players should be really delighted with their performances against sides that they normally find it hard against.
"If it has done nothing else it will stop people asking about our record here,'' added O'Neill, who also revealed Stephen Warnock is unlikely to be fit for Tuesday after suffering whiplash during a collision with Park Ji-sung.