Midfielder Dietmar Hamann praised Manchester City's workrate after they upstaged Manchester United to win an emotional derby 2-1 at Old Trafford.
City took the three points thanks to first-half goals from Darius Vassell and Benjani Mwaruwari.
The match marked the 50th anniversary of the Munich air disaster.
Hamann told Sky Sports: 'We worked ever so hard today and didn't give them much space when they went forward. Every time one of our players lost the ball another player covered and won it back.
'We know how good they are going forward and to restrict them to one goal and a handful of chances throughout the 90 minutes showed how well we defended today.'
Hamann praised the performance of striker Benjani, who marked his first start for City by heading in their second goal.
'He's done ever so well,' said Hamann. 'He kept the ball well and worked hard. When we put the ball in the channels he was always chasing it and won a few free-kicks.
'He scored a great goal and it was a great debut for him.'
City captain Richard Dunne was pleased with a return to form for Sven-Goran Eriksson's side as they completed a rare double over their local rivals.
'It's brilliant,' he said. 'We've been disappointed with our last few performances and today we got stuck into them.
'We knew if we didn't put in a performance we'd be in trouble. We got the goals at the right time and in the second half we worked really hard.'
United assistant manager Carlos Queiroz admitted his side's slow start to the match was one of the decisive factors in their defeat.
'It was very disappointing to lose, especially today and we did not play very well,' Queiroz told MUTV.
'Today was one of those games the lads really wanted do their best to win but we did not have any tempo or inspiration early in the game.
'We were perhaps too anxious at the start, and that combined with a Manchester City side who showed good movement and were strong on the counter-attack.
'I think the attitude of City and the way we started the game was what influenced the result.'
Queiroz also felt the club's below-par performance could be partly attributed to fatigue following a busy programme of international friendlies last week.
'We had seven or eight players who played 90 minutes in a friendly during the week and every time they come back to us they are affected by it in the next game,' he said.
'Today I think that was the case and some of our best players who played for their national teams during the week were not as sharp, showed some bad touches, and were not as inspirational as they can be.
'The team was affected by those who played for their national teams but of course we cannot use that as an excuse.'
Queiroz insisted his side are still well in the title race even though they could fall five points behind Arsenal if they beat Blackburn at the Emirates tomorrow.
The 54-year-old Portuguese coach has also called on the United players to respond when they face their title rivals in the FA Cup next weekend.
'We have a long way to go in the title race and plenty of games in front of us,' he added.
'Now we must put this game behind us and start again on Monday. We have not become a bad team after just one game - we are still a good side who can win the championship title.
'It is important we show against Arsenal next weekend this game was an accident and we are still going to challenge for trophies.'
United midfielder Michael Carrick admitted his side had 'never got going' in the match but was pleased both sets of fans respected the minute's silence in memory of the Munich disaster.
He told MUTV: 'The minute's silence went well which is good to see but in terms of the game we're not very happy with our performance.
'We don't want to lose any games and especially a derby match against City because we desperately wanted to collect those three points.
'At times we should have gone back to basics and overall we never really got going. We did not create enough chances to go on and win the match.
'They set out their game plan, were good on the counter-attack and their goalkeeper made some good saves. Once they scored their second goal it made it difficult for us.
'From a personal point of view it was nice to score, although it came too late to have an impact on the game, but it does not mean anything if you lose.
'However, there are still some games left to play and I'm sure Arsenal won't go the rest of the season without conceding so there's a lot left to play for.'