David Moyes still feels aggrieved by the tough baptism he was handed as Manchester United manager.

The positives from encouraging victories against Crystal Palace and Bayer Leverkusen were swept away in brutal fashion by Manchester City on Sunday.

City stormed to a 4-1 triumph at the Etihad Stadium, thanks to a double from Sergio Aguero and goals from Yaya Toure and Samir Nasri.

Although Wayne Rooney pulled one back, and in the process became the leading scorer in Manchester derby history, it represented United's biggest away defeat in the fixture since 2004 and leaves them eighth in the table, five points behind joint-leaders Arsenal and Tottenham.

It is a consequence of an opening five-game sequence that has seen United take on Chelsea, Liverpool and now City.

And Moyes remains dubious at how that schedule was arrived at.

"The start to the season could be a lot better," said Moyes.

"We did say it could be a difficult start.

"I wasn't convinced when the balls came out of the Premier League bag and I'm still not convinced."

United now have ground to make up and confidence to restore, starting against Liverpool in the Capital One Cup at Old Trafford on Wednesday.

Robin van Persie may be available for that game after missing out with a groin strain.

"Obviously you miss Robin Van Persie, he would be a huge miss to anyone," said Moyes.

However, the Scot accepts he has a strong enough squad to deal with such setbacks. And he is confident they have the character to recover from yesterday's dismal effort.

"If ever there was a group of players I would expect [a reaction from after a defeat] it is the Manchester United players," said Moyes.

"They react and that is what they will do. Every manager has bad days and bad results. I am no different.

"I have been here [at the Etihad] with Everton many times and I don't think I suffered a defeat like this with Everton.

"I talked with the players the same as I would at any other clubs.

"They are good pros here and they know when they are bang at it and when they are not."

The one person Moyes exempted from criticism was Rooney, who now has four goals in three games following his return from a gashed head.

"Wayne Rooney was outstanding," said Moyes. "He didn't deserve to be on the losing side. He was first class."