Aston Villa manager Steve Bruce was left to rue "individual errors" following his side's 2-0 defeat to Derby County in the Championship at Pride Park on Saturday afternoon.
Bruce saw his side throw everything at the hosts in the second-half following Andreas Weimann's first-half opener but they just could not find the elusive equaliser. Johnny Russell killed off any hope Villa had of nicking a point as he made the points safe for the Rams in injury time with a low strike.
Villa's experienced midfielder Glenn Whelan misjudged a back-pass in the lead up to Weimann's goal and Bruce believes his side must eradicate these sort of individual errors. He said: "We made so many mistakes, especially in the first 20 minutes. From the very first minute, we have put them through (on goal) and did not really recover."
He added: "Individual error is something we have to eradicate. We have gifted them the game."
A first-half full of individual errors
However, despite the fact that Whelan's error was the one that was highlighted in Bruce's post-match press conference, he believes that numerous mistakes were made by his side in the first-half which ultimately prevented them from getting anything out of the game.
He said: "We made too many mistakes today to win a football match. It is part and parcel of football unfortunately. Glenn (Whelan) is an experienced international footballer and there is nobody more disappointed than he will be today. He has been very good for us and will continue to be."
He added: "He was not alone, there were far too many (mistakes) for my liking all over the pitch."
This fixture stood-out as one of the biggest of the Championship weekend as just one point separated the two sides who both sat in the play-off places. However, Bruce does not believe that his players allowed the occasion to get the better of them.
He said: "We just made too many (mistakes) from the very first whistle and really we did not recover and chased it after that. (In the) second-half I was pleased with the way we played but we did not have enough shots on target."
Embed from Getty Images
A number of key players injured
Many were left surprised when the starting line-ups were announced an hour before kick-off and it became clear that Bruce was starting without a recognised striker. However, he explained how he was forced into this due to injury concerns for a number of his best striking options.
He said: "We have been dealt a bitter blow with (Jonathan) Kodjia. It was (another) big blow to us with Keinan (Davis) because of the impact he has had and of course he is our only real number nine when Kodjia is not there."
He added: "Gabby (Agbonlahor) has been out eight weeks with his calf (injury). He ha trained for about eight or nine days and I knew he would not be able to last if I started him. Scott Hogan has been out with an operation. In hindsight, I maybe should have started one of them."
Bruce ready to go again next weekend
Bruce was keen to point out that despite the disappointment of defeat, it was the first time that Villa had lost on their travels since the 2-0 defeat to league leaders Wolverhampton Wanderers in October.
He said: "It is what the Championship is. I think it is the first game we have lost away from home since Wolves and that was a long time ago. We have to dust ourselves down and get ready to go next week."
He added: "It is the first time we have been beaten in weeks. I am quietly confident that we will get through this sticky patch."
One positive for Villa to take from the game was the performance of Jack Grealish who made just his first start of the season. Bruce admitted that he was very encouraged by the 22-year-old's display as he was Villa's main attacking threat throughout.
He said: "I thought (Jack) Grealish was the best player on the pitch. We have to find a system that suits him when we play him. I thought he played very well today. We have only had him back for a month. I was very encouraged by the way he played today, I thought he was excellent."
Bruce's side will look to bounce back from this defeat when they take on fellow promotion hopefuls Sheffield United at Villa Park next Saturday.