Kevin MacDonald has played down the effect of the half-time arrival of bereaved Stoke manager Tony Pulis in Villa's 2-1 defeat at the Britannia Stadium.
Pulis announced he would miss the match following the death of his mother earlier in the day, but with Stoke trailing 1-0 at half-time to a Stewart Downing header, Pulis came out for the second half to a huge response.
Kenwyne Jones headed home the equaliser ten minutes from time before Robert Huth scored with almost the final kick of the game.
Villa caretaker manager MacDonald, continuing to stand in while Gerard Houllier works out his release from the France Football Federation, said: "We still had chances in the second half as well and I thought we played some good football in both halves, so its obviously disappointing that we lost 2-1.
"We're always confident in the way we play, passing it, moving it around and creating chances but Stoke are always very difficult to beat as they showed in the second half."
Macdonald paid tribute to Pulis's strength of character.
"I feel very sad for Tony, but he is a wonderful man. I don't think it would have changed the way his team played," he said.
"I think the way they acknowledge how good he is to them showed in the first half as well."
Villa were left fuming with a free-kick decision in the build-up to Stoke's winner, as Jermaine Pennant appeared to go down easily under a challenge from Stylian Petrov, who was booked after the final whistle as his protests continued.
"They felt that Jermaine fell over rather easily for the free-kick, and we were very disappointed with a referee's decision that ended up conceding the winning goal," MacDonald added.
Macdonald still expects to have a significant role in Villa's match at home to Bolton on Saturday as Houllier is not likely to be ready.
"The latest I heard was that I would be making the training plans and picking the team for Saturday and Mr Houllier would be at the game," he said.
"I met him last Friday; he is a very intelligent man about football and we had conversations about that.
"I think he will do a very good job."