With the full house signs being posted in Ninian Park for the first time in over 30 years it was always going to be a fraught afternoon for Birmingham City as they crashed to defeat on Saturday.
Cardiff started at a frenetic pace that visibly unsettled Blues but Bruce was insistent the intimidating atmosphere wasn't the root cause of the problem.
"I think it's a fantastic arena to come and play football," admitted Bruce. "Yes, we all love these new stadiums and what they've got but it's a throwback and I enjoy it. When you get an atmosphere like today it's a magnificent place to come and play. Unfortunately, we didn't play well enough today and that disappoints me. I expected us to be better than that.
"We've had players who've played in the Premier League, played in World Cups and everything, the simple fact is we played poorly in the first half.
"You can't come to a place like this with the crowd and the atmosphere and the way Cardiff have started this season and play poorly.
"We did better in the second half and we saw a bit more of individuals but I thought there was only three or four players that played to what they were capable."
Bruce said his team had been primed on what to expect after a lengthy conversation with Albion manager Bryan Robson.
The Baggies had a torrid experience at Ninian Park earlier in the month before claiming a precious away point in a 1-1 draw.
Allied to the fact that this was Cardiff's biggest crowd of the campaign, Bruce had made his payers acutely aware of what lay in store for them.
A preponderance of squandered opportunities, however, cost them dearly.
"It wasn't until the second half that we got a little bit of control in the game and then had the opportunity to take the game by the scruff of the neck but missed chances. Whatever level you are at you can't miss chances like those two," said Bruce, referring to Cameron Jerome and DJ Campbell's profligacy.
"Our best spell in the game was when Cardiff got the second goal because we had two or three opportunities then, Cameron's chance, DJ's chance, both one-on-ones with the goal-keeper. But overall we deserved what we got which was nothing, Cardiff were the better team on the day, simple as that.
"We can make as many excuses as we want but too many of the 11 didn't perform to their capabilities.
"They (Cardiff) have got magnificent supporters and it's a very difficult place to come and play.
"I spoke to my mate Bryan Robson at West Brom and he said it was their most difficult game of the season. You can under-stand why.
"More importantly I want to look after my own club and make sure we are at that end of the table. It's been a learning curve for us over the last four or five weeks as to how difficult this division is.
"Everybody wouldn't have said that Reading would have romped away with the Championship last year or Watford would have got promoted.
"The Championship is about making sure you have got enough throughout the season and we have got 41 games to go."