Sir Alex Ferguson rued a lack of "edge" in his Manchester United team’s performance in Sunday’s 1-0 defeat to Chelsea at Old Trafford.
The champions fell to an own goal from a deflected late Juan Mata strike and the disappointment of a first goalless home game in three-and-a-half years was compounded by Rafael’s dismissal for kicking David Luiz soon after.
Rafael Benitez’s Champions League-chasing side had shaded an encounter that produced plenty of chances at both ends, if not the intensity Sir Alex desired.
"There was no edge to our game but I think Chelsea were the better team," Sir Alex admitted to MUTV. "Training was fine this week and there was a nice edge to it, but today it was missing.
"[Being champions] has a lot to do with it. It’s been a long season for the players and their final really big effort was last week against Arsenal.
"Chelsea's goal was a bit lucky as it deflected off Phil Jones, but it was so late in the game that there was not a lot we could do about it."
Referee Howard Webb brandished United’s first red card of the league season with a minute left when Rafael lashed out following a clash with Luiz deep in Chelsea’s half.
Sir Alex insisted the Blues defender was as much to blame for the incident.