Manchester City boss Mark Hughes accepted that his side did not possess enough quality and strength to match Manchester United after their 2-0 derby defeat at Old Trafford.
Hughes was content with much of his side's play, but admitted that the Red Devils were worthy winners on the day.
He told the club's official website: "We had a lot of possession but the time of the first goal came when we were comfortable.
"But if you go behind at Old Trafford, they make it very difficult for you, as we found out.
"We came here with high hopes, but they're an accomplished side and on their day they're a very good side.
"We didn't ask enough questions of them today. We just didn't have that presence to enable us to retain possession in that vital final third and as a consequence couldn't get enough players forward.
"Our shape was good. Our back four played well and the two guys in front were good in possession. What we haven't got is the option to go 4-4-2 on a regular basis away from home.
"I'm still of a view that we need a more physical presence than we have at the moment."