Steve Bruce could do nothing but marvel at the quality of Sheffield Wednesday's goals as his Aston Villa side were beaten 2-1 by the Owls at Villa Park.
The Villa boss described strikes by Adam Reach and Jordan Rhodes as 'wonderful' in a match in which Wednesday dominated for long periods but were forced to defend for a lot of the second half to hold onto their two-goal lead.
Adam Reach put Carlos Carvalhal's men in front after just 18 seconds with a stunning left-foot strike and then on 23 minutes Jordan Rhodes doubled the lead after an intricate build-up carved open the Villa defence.
In between those two goals Villa lost influential skipper John Terry through injury and Robert Snodgrass, who wasn't 100% fit before the game, came off just before half time.
Bruce described the loss of Terry as a 'tremendous blow' and said the deficit, which was eventually halved in injury time through Chris Samba, had left Villa, who had previously been unbeaten at home, with 'a mountain to climb.'
"I have to say they scored two wonderful goals," said Bruce. "We can always pick holes defensively but it was always going to be a mountain to climb.
"I took a gamble with Robert Snodgrass who played with broken ribs. He wanted to play but it backfired and I should have known better.
"We then lost Terry which was a tremendous blow. The loss of key players is critical to all of us, especially when it is someone like John Terry."
Bruce added: "We had an awful 35 minutes, we only huffed and puffed. Sadly we were nowhere near what we have produced over the last few weeks.
"We are disappointed but there is a long way to go. We have seen some strange results in the division. That will happen.
"Two goals down after 20 minutes takes some getting back. Unfortunately we were chasing the game against a good team and it was always going to be difficult."