Steve Bruce says the ‘game was gone in two minutes’ after his Newcastle side lost 2-0 on his return to Villa Park.
The 58-year-old was sacked by Aston Villa 14 months ago when they were still in the Championship, previously describing his final days in charge at the Birmingham club as one of the most unsavoury times of his career.
There was to be no happy return as his side went two goals down, both conceded from set pieces and Villa keeper Tom Heaton in fine form.
"The first half in particular we did not do enough with or without the ball. Two free-kicks, we felt we were harshly done by but the way Conor Hourihane has executed them made it a difficult night."
Hourihane scored the first after first rolling it to Villa captain Jack Grealish, he stopped the ball, before the Republic of Ireland international picked his spot in the bottom corner to make it 1-0.
Four minutes later he turned provider for Anwar El Ghazi to prob home inside the six-yard box and ruin Bruce’s evening.
"Conor is very good, I have seen it many times and he has the accuracy and power to score. The second one, our defenders have to defend better, too many stood and watched it.
"The game was gone in two minutes in the Premier League. We had chances before and after half-time when Tom Heaton made some good saves."
Next up for Newcastle are Premier League champions Manchester City on Saturday afternoon, where Bruce knows his side must do more if they are to get anything out of the game.
"We are up against one of the best team in the world (Manchester City) next and we have to do better than tonight if we want to get anything out of the game, We have to roll our sleeves up and get ready for it."
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