Martin O'Neill's reactions at the final whistle said it all.

He wandered over to the travelling Villa contingent and mouthed "Sorry" to the 2,500 supporters who had made the trip north-wards no doubt sharing his frustration at the 1-0 defeat.

And the Villa manager had no excuses as he gave his post-match analysis to a press contingent eager to know what had happened to the team with a spark who had so easily disposed of Chelsea just a fortnight ago.

His reaction at the final whistle was in stark contrast to the jubilant scenes on the pitch and in the dressing-room after the thrilling 2-0 win over Chelsea who are already being tipped as one of the favourites to lift the Premier League title this season.

O'Neill said: 'We are all disappointed really. On the back of that great win against Chelsea we came here with plenty of confidence.

"But we did not do enough. "We should have been able to create a lot more chances with the players we had here.

"It is not that we did not try but we did not do enough."

The Villa boss, looking dejected after facing the Villa supporters who he is so eager to please, continued: "We started off reasonably well and at half time as you would expect the home side came out brightly.

"But I felt then that we were doing OK in the game without showing the real spark that we showed against Chelsea.

"In the second half we had the chance to go out and win the game.

"Maybe we felt that had to go for it and to be honest that is what we tried to do. But we did not create enough real clear-cut chances and at the end it was very disappointing."

O'Neill continued: "I will not use the international break as an excuse.

"In actual fact we had an extra day to recuperate by playing on a Sunday so there is no excuse.

"Of course as a club manager I wish that we had had a game last Saturday week after the Chelsea game.

"A lot of the players travelled all over Europe but it was the same for both teams.

"We should not be using that as an excuse."

O'Neill now has to try to lift his dejected players ahead of Sunday's visit by a buoyant Everton side.