Steve Bruce has admitted that his side's 1-1 draw with Burton Albion on Saturday felt like a defeat, reports the Express and Star.
Having won four games on the bounce, Aston Villa held faint hopes of reaching the play-off places after Jonathan Kodjia made it 1-0 to the Villains after just three minutes gone, his 19th league goal of the season.
However, Lloyd Dyer came back to haunt his old club to make it 1-1 just after the hour mark, which left Bruce extremely frustrated.
He said: "It does feel like a defeat. We have to admit we were poor today. We lacked sharpness and a few of them looked a bit off it. In my experience, it’s always the week after the international games. We’ve played two or three games and some of them were running on empty."
"It was frustrating but credit to Burton. They are good at what they do. We know that it is never easy coming here but after getting off to a good start, we have to take care of the ball better than we did. Moving forward we have to take better care of the ball, that’s for sure."
Dyer's goal was the first that Villa had conceded in their last four games. The match also marked Villa's first draw in 14 games
A point each was probably the fairest result, with both sides creating six chances, and recording an almost identical passing accuracy. Burton recorded 66% whilst Villa had 68%.
Bruce's side now sit 11 points behind sixth-placed Sheffield Wednesday, who occupy the final play-off spot thanks to a 2-1 victory over table toppers Newcastle United on Saturday. With five games left, however, an immediate return to the Premier League is looking very unlikely.