Roy Hodgson admits West Brom were served a dose of reality at Old Trafford on Sunday afternoon when Manchester United ended their winning streak.
The Baggies travelled to the Theatre of Dreams having won their last three on the bounce but could not maintain that run against the reigning Premier League champions as Wayne Rooney's double condemned them to a 2-0 defeat.
Hodgson's side were also reduced to 10 men in the second half when Jonas Olsson was handed a second yellow card and while the manager was impressed by their resilience, he concedes the performance was lacking.
"It was a bit of a reality check for us here today," he told Sky Sports.
"We've had three very good games but, to be frank, today we weren't able to give Manchester United the kind of problems I'd have liked to have seen us give them.
"When we went down to 10 men, basically all I could hope for was that they weren't going to score an awful lot of goals.
"Going down to 10 men and conceding a penalty, really all I can say is that the players did remarkably well to keep fighting.
"There were a lot of tired legs and bodies out there against a Manchester United team with their tails up.
"I'm not bitterly disappointed but I am a little bit disappointed because I think we can do better than that. We can play better than that. But all credit to United and it is difficult to play with 10 men."
Albion saw a penalty appeal turned down in the second half when Patrice Evra appeared to foul Peter Odemwingie inside the box.
Hodgson admits it would have been a "cheap" penalty had it been given by referee Lee Probert, adding: "I don't think he meant to bring him down, Patrice Evra. I don't know whether the referee took that into consideration.
"He did catch him. Technically speaking it's a penalty. It would have been a cheap penalty really because there was no real danger in that situation.
"I think when everyone sees it again they will see that it was an actual trip and there was no question of a dive from Odemwingie, he was actually caught by Evra's leg."
Despite the defeat, Hodgson has not ruled out finishing inside the Premier League top 10, but knows the 14th-placed Baggies must first secure survival.
"That would be a nice target to have," he said. "It won't be easy to get but first of all I want to get to those 40 points.
"I want to get those as soon as possible so we can be 100 per cent sure we're in the Premier League next season.
"If we reach that target within the coming weeks then I think we'll be looking to push on and try and finish as high as we possibly can."