Reading manager Steve Coppell shouldered the blame for his side's 4-2 reverse at the hands of Blackburn Rovers at Ewood Park.
Coppell made changes to his Royals line-up due to several players having been away on international duty, but could only watch on as in-form Rovers ran riot.
Coppell said afterwards: "It was my fault. I chose the wrong way of playing. I will chop and change whenever I see fit, but I obviously made the wrong call.
"One of the reasons for the changes was because of the internationals who had played two games.
"If you play international games and you win it doesn't seem so physically demanding, but if you get beat, sometimes I think it takes more of a toll if you lose international matches."
Of Reading's struggles after an outstanding first season in the top-flight, Coppell added: "Statistically it is always tougher, it has got nothing to do with our individual case.
"If you look at all the teams, I think Blackburn are one of only two sides who were better in their second season.
"Statistically it just happens that way, you can write a list of however many reasons as you want, it's hard in your first season, it's hard in your second."