Martin O'Neill had few complaints about Sunderland's 4-0 drubbing at the hands of West Brom and admits they were "well beaten".
The Black Cats boss felt Peter Odemwingie's third-minute strike hampered their intentions to continue their impressive Premier League form under his leadership, but that his men lacked the same energy they displayed against Arsenal in their recent FA Cup victory.
When James Morrison put Albion 2-0 up, O'Neill bolstered his attack in the shape of Nicklas Bendtner and new England recruit Fraizer Campbell, but could only watch as the Baggies punished their defensive frailties.
"The early goal knocked us back a bit but it shouldn't have done. It shouldn't be a decisive moment," said the Northern Irishman.
"We were second best for all of the first-half and at the end of the day we were deservedly beaten. It was a tough one to take because it was certainly unlike us in recent times not to compete and just have a real appetite for it.
"At this moment we are not good enough to go 10-15 minutes in a game and play second fiddle to teams.
"We had to work really hard to beat Arsenal in the FA Cup and today we didn't seem to have that energy. There is no excuse. We were well beaten."