Ronald Koeman was encouraged by his team's showing at Old Trafford and was taking the positives at the end of a miserable week but he dismissed Jose Mourinho's assertion that Everton's massive transfer outlay this summer means they should be challenging for the top four.
The Dutchman indicated that he would be looking at the comparatively more favourable run of fixtures that lie ahead of Everton as they seek to get back to winning ways.
“[That result] is difficult to understand,” Koeman said after the game. “if you look at the score, you'd think there was only one team on the pitch this afternoon but it wasn't.
“It's always difficult in the situation that the team is in when you concede a really fast goal in the game. But after that we grew into the game, we got more confidence and we felt there was something to win today.
“The second half was much better. I think for most of the second half there was one team trying to score and, okay, we got two big opportunities to score and thanks to De Gea, it was not 1-1.
“After the individual mistake by Ashley Williams it was over and the the third and the fourth — an easy free kick by the linesman; I don't understand this — and the penalty — I don't know if it's a penalty — made the score higher than we deserved.
“It was all about our desire. I saw a team out there who were prepared to fight every second and for every ball. We created, we did not score… it's a big defeat but we deserved more than that.
“Of course I'm disappointed about the final result. You need points. If you don't win, growing your confidence is really difficult but the team was totally different to what we showed last Thursday.
“We have four home games [now] and we need to win. That's the best medicine for getting your confidence back.”
Koeman addressed Mourinho's programme notes during his post-match press conference and denied that his team was ever capable of a top-four finish despite an outlay of around £140m during the last transfer window.
"Sorry, is there anybody, in this room or on the outside, who sees this as realistic or possible for Everton? Please, come on. Be realistic and let's talk at the end of the season.
“I'm not happy with how we have started the season but, please, let's be a little realistic about Everton. And it starts with everyone — the fans, the press… we need time.”
When asked what he considered to be a realistic target, the manager reportedly said: "The same as last season."