The Arabs were brushed aside by a tenacious Motherwell outfit at Fir Park with Houston admitting that the team who simply wanted it more came out on top.
He even went as far as saying it was the poorest 90 minutes his players had produced in a long time.
"The hungrier, more determined team won," Houston said.
"We gave Motherwell a head start in the first game and we talked about that first goal, and they score after seven minutes. But I would be making excuses if I didn't say the hungrier, better team won.
"I think that's the poorest performance since I took over as manager, and I include the 7-1 defeat by Rangers in that.
"We played well at times at Ibrox but tonight our second shot at goal came in the 89th minute.
"That's not the United team I have known, even in the last month.
"We came off five victories in the league but we just didn't turn up."
Prior to last night's loss, Dundee were undefeated in eight matches and had won five of their past six but came crashing down in the competition which they saluted in last season.