Dean Smith has told his misfiring Aston Villa players they need to raise their game.
Villa have lost four of their last six Premier League outings and host Arsenal on Saturday.
Wednesday’s 3-1 home defeat to West Ham left them ninth, a point and a place above the Gunners, and boss Smith has demanded an instant response.
“The message was they’ve dropped below their standards,” he said.
“We’ve had some very high standards this season already and we keep speaking to the players, if we want to be a top team then we have to keep playing to those standards.
“For me, there were too many six out of 10s on Wednesday night and if you drop to that level then you’re going to get beat. We found that out.
“The lads understand that as well and they know what they have to do to put it right.
“It was the first time I thought we looked mentally tired more than anything, certainly there’s nothing in the numbers to suggest fatigue in any way, but it was the fifth game in 14 days, we’ve got our sixth game on Saturday in 18 days.
“The lads have to make sure they’re ready for each game because it’s a tough league and can be punishing if you’re not right.”
Wesley (knee) and Kortney Hause (foot) remain out for Villa while Morgan Sanson is pushing to start after making his debut off the bench on Wednesday.
Villa beat Arsenal 3-0 at the Emirates Stadium in November but Smith believes Mikel Arteta’s side have improved since then, despite their seven-game unbeaten run ending with defeat at Wolves on Tuesday.
“It was a follow-up (win) after beating Liverpool,” he told a press conference.
“Arsenal are one of the big clubs in the league, had success, won the FA Cup last year, to go there and put in a performance as we did and get the result we did was excellent.
“It was on the back of a defeat against Southampton, so a really good performance, but Arsenal are a changed team now.
“They’ve had an upturn in form now and been climbing the league, it will be more of an evenly-matched game on Saturday.”