Jose Mourinho criticised his Manchester United players for lacking ambition and aggression in their deflating 0-0 draw with Crystal Palace at Old Trafford.
The result saw United drift 14 points off Premier League leaders Manchester City and the damage could have been greater in an uninspiring return from the international break.
Patrick van Aanholt and Andros Townsend both passed up good chances to score what would have been a well-earned winner for Palace.
Opportunities were less forthcoming at the other end with Anthony Martial and the recalled Romelu Lukaku both struggling to have an impact in a misfiring attack.
"[It's] a bad point," Mourinho told Sky Sports. "When the objective is to chase the top four and to step by step close the distance to [the top four] in the period of eight Premier League matches until the end of December, it's a bad start.
"I give [Palace] credit obviously but I don't want to try to show that we drew because they were phenomenal.
"I praise them. They were defensively very well organised, the goalkeeper made a couple of fantastic saves. I think they played their game and played well.
"In the first half I would say we need bit more aggression, because we found well the spaces. We knew the spaces they were not giving, but we did not have enough ambition or intensity to do it.
"In the second half we need to score the big chances we had. At least we arrived in scoring positions, but I think once more we wasted time by allowing the game to go without us really chasing it from the first moment.
"We need to improve, of course. I'm disappointed with the performance."
Roy Hodgson was more satisfied with an enterprising Palace performance, despite their Premier League winless run stretching to eight matches.
The Eagles inched into 15th with the point and can now look forward to a more straightforward run of fixtures with fresh optimism.
"On another day, had fate been a bit kinder, and we had been more clinical, we could have won it," Hodgson told reporters.
"There aren't many teams in our position who will come here and win, or get a point as we have done."