Gareth Barry could not conceal his disappointment after Aston Villa's 3-1 defeat at home to Manchester City last night, describing it as an "eye-opener".
The Villa captain lamented his team's worst performance of the season and, especially, the performance of Darius Vassell, who did more than any player ensure victory for City.
Vassell and Barry signed professional forms for Villa at the same time as teenagers and were team-mates at Villa Park for seven years until the summer of 2005.
"City set the tempo and we did not play like a team in the top five of the Premiership," Barry said. "I don't know what it was. This time, it has caught up with us and conceding two early goals hurt us.
"Darius seems to hurt us every time he plays against us and he is doing a great job.
"The manager [Martin O'Neill] knows what is required and we have to look at what has gone wrong and go from there. This is more disappointing than when we lost to Liverpool last month, because this time we did not play well.
"The good thing is that we know we can bounce back. We did it after Liverpool and now we must get this out of our system and concentrate on our next match [against Portsmouth on Saturday]."