Patrick Vieira pulled no punches after his side's defeat in Toronto, making no excuses after a disappointing performance at BMO Field.
"It was a game we lost against a better team tonight," said Vieira, frankly. "It will be important for us to put that on the side, because we're going to have a massive one next week."
This week, NYCFC simply weren't up to the task, according to Vieira, who refused to blame his squad's performance on the tough calls that went against them for the second week in a row.
"The call today went against us, admitted the gaffer. "Last week it was a sending off. This is something that, of course, is frustrating for us, but that's not the reason why we lost the game. I think we have to look at ourselves, to see if we perform, and then we can talk about the referee.
"We had a really good chance with Maxi to score the 1-1 and we didn't take it. I think it's more us than the referee, obviously."
Rather than reminisce about what could have been if not for the glut of injuries plaguing his side at the moment, Vieira put the onus on those that suited up for City today, praising them where he could, but being quick to point out what needs to improve.
"The guys who came on did okay," noted Vieira, "But as a team, I think it was difficult for us to perform. You look at the game and you look at their roster, I think that it's telling us there's still a long way to go.
"We have to keep working on trying to improve."
When discussing the relative positions of these two teams in the Eastern Conference table, Vieira didn't hesitate to point out just how talented Toronto is. Vieira knows that his side can be just as dangerous, but he's not afraid to acknowledge that there's work yet to be done.
"Of course there's still a gap, and that is a big challenge for us. We want to challenge and we want to challenge them and we want to work hard because we are quite the ambitious football club, and if we want to challenge them, we need to work harder.
"I would say that this is the team to beat, no doubt about it."
Toronto may be the team to beat, and they may have the player to beat, as well. Giovinco's two goals and an assist were the difference today, but Vieira wasn't surprised by just how good the Italian is. After all, he's seen him before.
Vieira added: "I think I'm not surprised at all. I think he did really well when he was playing in Europe, and he just shows how good he is. If you give him space for him to express himself, he will hurt any team."