Bolton boss Gary Megson felt his side had Manchester United there for the taking after the 2-1 loss at Old Trafford.
The Trotters had their goal bombarded by United in the first half but with just a two-goal lead at the break, United became vulnerable in the second period.
Matt Taylor pulled a goal back for the away side after a Zat Knight own goal and Antonio Valencia's first for the club had given United their half-time lead.
Bolton's breakthrough came on 75 minutes and they upped the tempo for the final quarter of an hour, but were unable to find an equaliser.
Megson told Sky Sports: "I thought United could have been out of sight by half-time. We had some good chances (in the first-half), but they certainly had a lot more.
"We started playing in a manner that will enable us to get results with about 25 minutes to go."
It was too little too late for Megson's side, but he believes fatigue took its toll on South Korea international Lee Chung-Yong and Israeli Tamir Cohen, key players in their 2-2 draw Tottenham before the international break.
Megson said: "I think one other thing that reflected on the game is that, if Cohen and Chung-Yong Lee have to make those kinds of journeys again when on international duty, we will have to look at changing it.
"But we felt it wouldn't have been like how they played in the last game against Tottenham but today they were just nowhere near."
Knight's own goal got United off to the perfect start as it came with just five minutes on the clock and Megson admits the combination of Patrice Evra and Ryan Giggs caused them many problems.
"It's an awful goal. They gave us a torrid time down that side (Bolton's right flank) at times and Zat has not moved his feet quickly enough to shift it.
"Going a goal down here makes a difficult job even more difficult but we kept plugging away.
"They had more than enough opportunities to make it more than the two but we had one or two opportunities in the first-half to get ourselves on the score-sheet.
"Second half was much more like it. Once (Chris) Basham came on with (Mark) Davies, we chucked (Ivan) Klasnic up front and had a little bit of a gamble, and we looked more threatening."