DISAPPOINTED David Moyes admits his tired players failed to compete and lamented a bad start as Everton slipped to defeat at Old Trafford.
First-half goals from Ryan Giggs and Robin van Persie earned Manchester United an ultimately comfortable 2-0 Premier League victory yesterday.
While enjoying plenty of possession, Everton rarely threatened with David de Gea only forced into worthwhile saves from Leon Osman and substitute Nikica Jelavic.
Giggs was gifted a 13th-minute opener after United – fielding a strong side despite this week’s Champions League tie at Real Madrid – capitalised on hesitant defending from John Heitinga, who replaced the ill Sylvain Distin shortly before kick-off.
And Moyes said: “We got off to a bad start. Much of it was down to how Manchester United started. They had a plan with Phil Jones man-marking Marouane Fellaini and they started well.
“They set out their stall to make sure we weren't going to be able to do what we wanted to do.
“I thought at times we had quite good control of the game in the first half, but I couldn't understand why our back four was so high for the second goal and allowed the through ball which at times you might catch offside, but on this occasion we didn't.
“Did individual errors cost us? Yes, there was a little bit of that.
“I thought United played as if they meant it. They were really competitive and we didn't compete enough.”
While United are now 12 points clear at the top of the table, Everton have dropped to sixth and stand six points adrift of the Champions League qualification places.
And Moyes fears that, with just 12 games remaining, fatigue could be setting in among his squad.
“You could see tiredness in people like Leon Osman, Steven Pienaar who we rely on heavily,” said the Goodison manager. “We're asking people like Leighton Baines to put in a big shift, to do it for us week in week out.