Richie Barker admitted his below-par Crawley side's 2-1 defeat at Brentford was an unwelcome "reality check".
A Clayton Donaldson brace ensured the Bees took three deserved points and claimed the psychological advantage ahead of the sides' Johnstone's Paint Trophy clash on Tuesday
"We looked well below par for 45 minutes but I suppose you can understand blip a after the season we have had so far," Barker said.
"In a way we've built a rod for our own back with some really good away wins, but if we expected to come here and roll Brentford over then this was a reality check for all of us."
Crawley threatened only a handful of times against a buoyant Brentford side who have been creating, but not taking, their chances this season.
Barker added: "I felt that if we'd got the first goal we'd have gone on to win but the only time we looked really lively was after we pulled a goal back. Brentford are a good side who will be in the play off area and perhaps this was the kind of reality check all of us needed."
The only black mark on a good day for the Londoners came when striker Farid El Alagui went off with a serious leg injury. Bees boss Uwe Rosler said it was too early to judge the extent of the knee injury, which saw the Moroccan stretchered off with an oxygen mask strapped to his face.
Rosler said: "It was very important to get the three points today after the midweek draw, and I thought we deserved it with some excellent performances.
"I told Clayton he needed to step up this season and told him to make the runs into the box and not wide. He did that and got his rewards."
He added: "Crawley are a similar side to us in many ways. Physical, strong, creative with players who can change a game. Because of that I'm delighted that we have come out on top by playing the kind of good, possession and passing football we were at the start of the season."