Dean Smith lamented a sloppy 40-minute spell which left Aston Villa battered and bruised after a Patrick Bamford masterclass at Villa Park.
The Leeds United ace struck a 19-minute hat-trick in the second-half which included a stunning second from 20 yards out.
Villa, though, were second-best throughout proceedings but could have gone ahead via Jack Grealish who had an effort cleared off the line.
The skipper was at it again prior to Bamford’s opener, dribbling from deep inside his own half before forcing a save from Illan Meslier.
The 3-0 defeats leaves Villa in second-place prior to this weekend’s action with Smith’s men taking 12 points from a possible 15 from their five games to date.
Here’s what the head coach said afterwards:
Assessment of the game…
“Big moments change the game. It was pretty even first half. We had a couple of good chances. Jack’s had one cleared off the line, they’ve had a couple of good chances, Emi’s made a save and we got a few blocks in.
“Half-time I thought it was even Stevens and then we have a big moment where Jack goes on a mazy run and the keeper makes a good save. Two minutes later they go up the other end and score.
“I think that goal changed the game. They gained a yard and we lost a yard. That was the disappointing part – it was the first time we’ve been behind this season and we didn’t handle it the way we should have.
“We became a little bit distracted about what to do and our reactions weren’t as good.”
Jack’s brilliant run prior to opener…
“It reminded me of John Barnes against Brazil years ago but he managed to get the finish. I’m disappointed. We can’t become as open as we did at 1-0. We still need to be a tough team to beat. We didn’t do that. You’ve got to give Leeds credit. We matched them for 50 minutes but didn’t for the last 40.”
“We didn’t react quick enough in the final third and they switched play very quickly. They doubled-up on on Cash down the side, Emi’s made the save and they scrambled it in. The second goal was a super strike there wasn’t an awful lot you can do about that but, overall, we gave too many chances away in the second half by being too open.”
It’s been a fabulous start, your role getting players going again…
“I have a big role. I’d have bit somebody’s hand off to have had this start. I’m disappointed that we had the opportunity to go top of the league and go on a five-game winning run at the start of the season for the first time in the club’s history – we didn’t do that and it’s our job to make history by going on another run.
“It’s how you bounce back from this now. It’s disappointing, frustrating but I can only question 40 minutes of this season so far with these players. That’s a credit to them but we can’t allow that to come into our game.”
A contrast to the Liverpool game…
“It certainly is. We got punished by a very good team today who moved the ball quicker. Their one-touch play in the second half was better than ours and, ultimately, that cost us.”