Paul Lambert admitted Villa were "second best" as they went down 4-1 to Stoke.
Lambert was frustrated as his side produced a lethargic performance which he said was "unlike us."
He said: "We made a great start.
"For 20 minutes we looked really good and scored a really good goal.
"The goals we lost were poor.
"The two lads - Andi Weimann and Karim El Ahmadi - coming off never helped us. But I still thought we were second best. Stoke deserved to beat us.
"That whole performance was very unlike us after the start.
"We looked lethargic and never really got going.
"We tried to get a goal back but it never materialised. It was a performance that wasn't like us.
"We never got going after that opening 20 minutes.
"We never defended well at all. The goals were poor. We were second best.
"What disappoints me isn't just the goals, it was the lack of energy. Sometimes that can happen, you can be a bit lethargic when you think your legs aren't taking you when you want to go. I understand that. We never got going.
"The confidence was really high as we approached the game. We usually have a lot of energy but we couldn't get going for some reason.
"We were up for the game. We started really well. You get the goal and that gets the crowd going. The conceded goals were poor.
"I can't be too critical. The players have done great these past few weeks but they didn't deserve anything today.
"You don't dwell on it now. You pick yourself and go again. That's the important thing. We have a young group but we will bounce back from it.
"You get knocked down but you get up and go for more. That's what we will do this week."
Lambert revealed that Weimann and El Ahmadi were withdrawn through injury.
He added: "Andi had a severe dead leg which he couldn't shake off.
"I will have to see how Karim is to see if he has a little thigh strain there.
"It never helped us because they have been playing very well for us. It upset us a little bit but it's still no excuse."
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