Steve Bruce bemoaned the worst half he has had as Hull City boss after seeing the Tigers go down 2-1 at Aston Villa.
Villa over-ran the visitors in the opening period at Villa Park, netting goals via Gabby Agbonlahor and Andreas Weimann, while Fabian Delph and Ashley Westwood also both hit the woodwork.
Bruce made changes after the break and Nikica Jelavic scored a consolation before substitute Sone Aluko fired directly at Brad Guzan with the visitors' final chance to snatch an unlikely draw.
But Bruce, whose side dropped out of the Europa League in mid-week, was not happy with the opening period from his players.
He told Sky Sports: “Well for how good we were in the second half, I think we have to be blatantly honest and say, we were that poor in the first.
"It's arguably the worst 45 minutes – I think we were poor here last year – it's arguably the worst 45 minutes I think I've had in my couple of years since I've been at the club and then of course you want a response.
"And we simply just had far too many people as a team not playing well.
"Change of formation, change of personnel, we changed it around in the second half and it was more like us again and with a little bit of luck - Aluko's chance - with a little bit of luck who knows we could have been a different game."
He agreed the Tigers might have been suffering a hangover from their European exit against Lokeren on Thursday, but he refused to use it as an excuse.
"Possibly (a hangover), maybe feeling sorry for ourselves. The two games in three days is a big ask, you know we had no real intensity about us, we haven't really looked as if we have recovered from it.
"But I don't really want to make excuses – we simply didn’t perform well enough, to the standard what we require.
"And the one thing to play for myself is, I don't mind getting beat, but you have to get beat with your boots on and the first half we were nowhere near a team that I can associate with and, as I said, that was the disappointing thing for me because how good we were the second half, I can’t erase the badness of the first."
He warned his team their first-half performance is a wake-up call if they want to stay in the Premier League.
He said: "If we are ever going to get carried away with ourselves which I won't allow, then we've had a wake-up call just how tough this league is.
"And if we think we can just stroll around and get a result like we did first half, we're far mistaken so we'll be better next week, that's for sure."