West Ham boss David Moyes felt his team were worthy of at least a draw at the Etihad Stadium, where Manchester City earned a hard-fought 2-1 win on Sunday.
The Premier League leaders struggled to get going in the first half against a determined Irons and went into the break trailing 1-0 to Angelo Ogbonna's 44th-minute header.
The second half was a different story, however, as City piled on the pressure with Nicolas Otamendi restoring parity on 61 minutes before David Silva completed the comeback seven minutes from time.
Moyes' side made life very difficult for the Citizens, though, and had an opportunity to snatch a point at the death when Diafra Sakho fired wide of the near post from Marko Arnautovic's cross.
The Scot has yet to record his first three-point haul since replacing Slaven Bilic at the helm, but he was encouraged by what he saw from his players on this occasion.
"I think the performance was very good," Moyes said. "I think, if we had come away with something today, nobody would have been surprised by it. I felt, on another day, it might have just gone our way.
"It was a really good effort. Some of the games we've had this season, I don't think we've been as good as that. We defended much better today and we're going to have to defend better throughout the season.
"I thought we deserved to equalise. You can't argue, what City's pressure was. You get results in football in different ways, and it looked as though we may have got one in a different way today.
"Arguably we might have had the best chances in the first half and we defended well. I thought the players did a really good job.
"I thought City's shots were mainly from distance. Most of their shots were from outside the box and we filled the box and made it difficult for them to score.
"I have to say that we did a really good job and might have had the better opportunities in the first half, and then what a chance we had to make it 2-2 late on."