Manchester United could not repeat the heroics of recent weeks in salvaging a positive result after falling behind. Watching on as his side delivered a fairly insipid performance against the Premier League champions, Jose Mourinho didn't want to offer excuses; before doing just that.
After opening the scoring through David Silva in the opening half, Pep Guardiola's side quickly doubled their tally as the second-half got underway; Sergio Aguero leaving David De Gea looking unusually vulnerable with his angled finish.
With the result already looking a foregone conclusion, a glimmer of hope came with the introduction of Romelu Lukaku; the Belgian striker earning a penalty from an Eduardo mis-judgement with almost his first meaningful move of the game.
Converted by Anthony Martial, where Manchester City had appeared so controlled, a noticeable degree of uncertainty came over their play. Although United huffed and puffed, however, City's clinching goal would came late on.
Another substitute making a difference, City's Ilkay Gundogan converted a wonderful cross to leave United without any feasible hope of recovery.
Speaking after the match, United's manager Jose Mourinho reflected on a performance he wouldn't describe as bad necessarily, but one riddled with mistakes.
Dwelling on what he had seen, the Portuguese was determined to offer no excuses. It didn't last too long.
I told already the players that it is one thing to win two matches at home 6-0, and be fresh and relaxed ... [it is] another thing to have two matches away where the second one is Juventus, where you fight like animals.
Conceding that some of his players felt tired (emotionally, and physically, he was at pains to point out), when Mourinho was pushed on explaining how these differing weeks impacted players, the Manchester United manager back-tracked spectacularly.
I'm not going to use that as an excuse, that's not me. But I think everybody has to agree, one thing is to go to Juventus in the Champions League ... another thing is to beat Shakhtar Donetsk at home, and enjoy the game and relax.
With this, I don't want to say that City isn't a very good team, I'm saying we arrived in different circumstances.
Turning attention toward playing personell, the absence of Paul Pogba was felt. However, not why you may initially have expected.
It's not me, after a defeat to speak about a player who was not here. Of course we missed him, and one of the things that break a little bit, no, a lot of our plan, was the fact that Fellaini had to start the game.
Pointing out that Marouane Fellaini is not currently in prime physical condition to play 90-minutes, Mourinho also pondered what could have been were he to have the Belgian entering proceedings with the score at 2-1 in favour of City.