Sir Alex Ferguson admitted he was disappointed with his players' defending that led to the decisive goal in last night's Premier League clash at the Etihad Stadium, and concedes that Manchester City now have the advantage in the race for the title.

In a game that Manchester United started brightly, with the visitors' five-man midfield dominating early proceedings, the reigning champions struggled to create any clear-cut chances for lone striker Wayne Rooney.

Their failure to capitalise on decent possession was punished when City captain Vincent Kompany rose highest to head home just minutes before the interval, giving Roberto Mancini's men a vital lead.

"It was a feisty, competitive game which we expected," Ferguson told ManUtd.com in his post-match interview. "There were not a lot of goal chances.

"We started off quite well for maybe 10 to 15 minutes and looked as if we were on top in terms of possession and creating opportunities around their box. But as the game wore on, nothing really happened.

"I think David De Gea's made the only save in the match. We're disappointed we never tested their goalkeeper to be honest. Our crossing was poor. I thought City were more of a threat than us, simply because they had more action around our box. We had control in some parts of the game but not enough to cause any damage.

"If you lose a goal at a set-piece at this level of football then you only have yourself to blame for that. It was a bad time to concede a goal because there was nothing really happening at the end of the first half."

After the interval, the game provided precious few chances, meaning United were leapfrogged at the top of the table on goal difference, leaving bragging rights to the blue side of Manchester, after the Citizens completed a memorable double over their inner city rivals.

"Yes, they're in the driving seat now," added the United boss. "They only need to win two games of football [against Newcastle away and QPR at home]. It's not over.

"As long as there are games of football to play, it's not over of course. We have the same number of points but they have an eight goals advantage and that's a big advantage of this time of the season."

United host Swansea at Old Trafford on Sunday, before a final day trip to the Stadium of Light to face Sunderland.

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