Never mind a wake-up call.
Sheffield Wednesday suffered a brutal reality check at Hull City.
The Tigers, the Championship's form team, taught the Owls a footballing lesson.
Wednesday were comprehensively beaten and outclassed, outfought, out-thought, outmanoeuvred and outwitted in every facet of the game by Nigel Adkins promotion hopefuls. Hull dominated from start to finish and deservedly recorded a sixth straight league victory to move into the top half of the table and within four points of the play-offs.
Oozing class and confidence, the Tigers bullied the Owls from the word go and were superior in every department.
Without Keiren Westwood, it would have been a cricket score (okay, that's a slight exaggeration).
Wednesday simply could not do the basics right with or without the ball. Too many players had off days and lost their individual battles. Their passing was below-par and they looked completely bereft of ideas in the final third.
It was a lethargic, insipid, abject performance.
Wednesdayites travelled in their numbers to the KCOM Stadium. More than 2,300 fans packed into the away end and they deserved far, far better than what the Owls served up.
"The supporters will be bitterly disappointed and I fully understand their frustrations," conceded caretaker manager Steve Agnew. "We are as disappointed as they are and I mentioned that to the players. It is a massive football club with fantastic support.
"The performance was way, way below-par of what we and the supporters' demand. It was not acceptable the way we went about the performance."
Wednesday struggled to match the energy, tempo and intensity Hull played at for long periods. It took a stunning save at full stretch from Westwood to prevent Kamil Grosicki from putting the hosts ahead inside the second minute.
"We just didn't protect Keiren at all,” said Agnew. “He had far, far too much to do.”
Sam Hutchinson tried his best to wrestle control away from the Tigers in the midfield engine room. He teed up Adam Reach for the Owls' only meaningful chance in a one-sided first half.
But Kevin Stewart and Markus Henriksen dictated proceedings in the centre while Grosicki tormented the Owls out wide.
Grosicki was the architect of the opener on the stroke of half-time. He rolled a pass into the path of Jarrod Bowen, who curled a delightful left foot shot past Westwood from the edge of the penalty area.
Only one team ever looked up for this Yorkshire derby. The Tigers showed more stomach for the fight and earned the right to play. They wanted it more and were by far and away the more accomplished team.
No wonder Agnew accused the Owls' players of lacking desire. There was no heart, pride or passion in their performance.
And Wednesday heads went down after Bowen calmly slotted in a 52nd minute penalty after Westwood had been adjudged to have brought down Chris Martin following superb approach play by Grosicki.
Substitute Fraizer Campbell added extra gloss to the final scoreline by grabbing a third. He got the better of Owls captain Tom Lees before lashing a right foot shot out of Westwood's reach.
"The third goal killed it off,” said Agnew, who is manning the team until manager Steve Bruce’s on February 1. “We were never in the game and never showed any desire and Hull thoroughly deserved the win.
“The players are bitterly disappointed with the result. They are all disappointed with their own performance. They know we are new to it and we have to find out about each other.
"The players have to understand what is required to win football matches and what is required to move up the league. We were way, way below standard and we got what we deserved.”
David Marshall had nothing to do in goal for Hull as Wednesday failed to register a single shot on target.
Agnew said: "I'm just the voice of Steve [Bruce]. He would relay the same message as I have. He would be bitterly disappointed with not just the performance but the intensity of the performance and the way we went about the game. We made everything too easy for Hull.
"Credit to Hull and they came out worthy winners but they didn't have to play particularly well considering how below-par we were.”
Defeat could be a blessing in disguise
If Wednesday had picked up a positive result against Hull, it would have further papered over the cracks and raised hopes of a late promotion challenge.
But the reality is the Owls are a long way off a team capable of mounting a top-six tilt. The fact is Wednesday are short of strength in depth and quality in a number of positions.
The squad needs major surgery and the defeat to Hull might actually do more good than harm in the long run.
Bruce and company have a huge jobs on their hands to rebuild the team. It is beginning to look a two to three year project. Bruce can’t come quick enough.