AZ Alkmaar coach Dick Advocaat conceded his team were not good enough to match Benfica as they were eliminated from the UEFA Europa League.
Benfica won Thursday's quarter-final second leg in Lisbon 2-0 to triumph 3-0 on aggregate with Rodrigo scoring a brace for the home side.
Advocaat paid tribute to Alkmaar's work ethic in Portugal but claimed his team were simply inferior compared to Benfica.
"We have reached the last eight, I have given the boys a compliment," Advocaat said.
"We have come far and have tried also against Benfica to make a contest.
"Qualitatively, however, we are of course a lot less."
The 66-year-old coach added his team 'tried everything', while Alkmaar midfielder Steven Berghuis was left frustrated that the Dutch club had been unable to make a mark in Lisbon.
"I stand here with mixed feelings," the 22-year-old told AZ's website.
"Of course we can be proud that we have come so far in the Europa League but I hate that we did not bite here."
Berghuis was fairly happy with how Alkmaar kept their shape in defence but bemoaned the fact the visitors had conceded two goals on the counter-attack.
"The two goals we conceded were almost identical," Berghuis said.
"Both times they came out quickly after we lost possession. Twice there was a deep cross from the right and both times Rodrigo tapped the ball in at the far post.
"Handsome attacking from Benfica but we should have anticipated better as a team."
The loss in Lisbon stretched Alkmaar's winless streak in all competitions to five games and, having been eliminated from the KNVB Beker late last month, Advocaat's side now only have the Eredivisie to focus on.
Alkmaar sit seventh in the Eredivisie with three games left before the Dutch play-offs start and their boss quickly turned his attention to their league clash with NEC Nijmegen on Sunday.
"We must ensure that we make the play-offs. Sunday against NEC is again an important game," Advocaat said.
"We need to be fit and sharp."
The top eight clubs will reach the play-offs and Alkmaar have a seven-point gap on ninth-placed PEC Zwolle ahead of the weekend's games.
|Coach: Jorge Jesus|
for Sílvio 4'
for L. Fejsa 64'
for M. Sulejmani 70'
|Dyche baffled by Burnley´s ´strugglers´ tag|
|Irvine unaware of potential West Brom additions|
|Allardyce pleased with 2014 points haul|
|Torres set for return to Atletico Madrid on loan|
|Maiga earns Mali recall|
|Sunderland concern over Larsson and Bridcutt|
|Pochettino planning Tottenham transfer talks|
|Wenger confident of top-four finish|
|Hughes sweating on Bojan fitness|
|Hectic schedule caught up with United - Van Gaal|
|Capello: Wenger shunned Lopez advice|
|PSG aim for improvement in Morocco|
|Jones: United could have scored four|
|Mignolet: Getting dropped helped me|
|A-League Preview: No concerns for Finkler ahead of Victory blockbuster|
|Milan, Atletico working on Torres-Cerci swap|
|Garbutt: Crisis talk premature|
|Zurich pair key for Tunisia|
|Uchida ruled out of Asian Cup|
|Lemina rejects Gabon call-up|
|Toure a doubt for Sunderland clash|
|Millen ´ready´ to manage Palace|
|Carver urges Newcastle to kick on|
|Bellarabi extends Leverkusen deal|
|Wenger hails ´committed´ Arsenal|
|Diouf will be missed - Hughes|
|Millen elated at resolute Palace performance|
|Lambert: Big point for Villa|
|Martinez rues Cisse decision|
|Dyche delighted by Burnley character|
|Allardyce: Officials got it horribly wrong|
|Poyet rues dropped points at Villa|
|Bruce frustrated as dominant display yields no points|
|Pellegrini laments key turning points in Burnley setback|
|Newcastle United 3 Everton 2: Pardew´s men impress at St James´ Park|
|League One Review: Swindon climb into second, MK Dons suffer surprise defeat|
|Championship Review: Bournemouth go four points clear, Boro held|
|Koeman hails Southampton spirit|
|Inverness Caledonian Thistle 0 Aberdeen 1: Pawlett strikes sends McInnes´ men second|
|Mourinho fumes at ´campaign´ against Chelsea|
|Manchester City 2 Burnley 2: Barnes claims a point to deny champions|
|West Ham 1 Arsenal 2: Wenger´s men climb above hosts|
|Hull City 0 Leicester City 1: Mahrez fires Pearson´s men to victory|
|QPR 0 Crystal Palace 0: Millen makes solid start as temporary Palace boss|
|Aston Villa 0 Sunderland 0: Delph sees red in stalemate|
|Stoke 2 West Brom 0: Diouf brace secures back-to-back wins|
|Southampton 1 Chelsea 1: Mourinho´s men end 2014 on top|
|Van Gaal frustrated with wasteful finishing|
|Pochettino content with goalless draw|
|Tottenham 0 Manchester United 0: Honours even at White Hart Lane|
|Klose vows to fight for Lazio place|
|Hughton admits interest in Palace and Brighton roles|
|Injuries not behind retirement plans, says Rolfes|
|Podolski: Arsenal exit not a formality|
|Wellington Phoenix 1 Western Sydney Wanderers 0: Krishna wins it|
|Taylor wary of ´beast´ Lukaku|
|Al Habsi to lead Oman at Asian Cup|
|Lacazette will stay at Lyon - Aulas|
|Southampton like Atletico, says Alderweireld|
|World Cup held PSG back - Blanc|
|Everton facing ´pivotal´ moment - Martinez|
|Zamora urges QPR to tie down Austin|
|Badstuber, Alaba set for New Year return|
|Burgos: Atletico will get the best out of Torres|
|Chelsea to offer Terry new deal - Mourinho|
|Rodgers excited by Sterling development|
|Strinic close to finalising Napoli switch|
|Torres to join Milan on permanent deal|
|Scottish Premiership Review: Celtic held to shock draw, rivals fail to capitalise|
|Wenger sings Song´s praises|
|Pochettino calls for bravery|
|West Ham could lose Allardyce - Sullivan|
|League One Preview: Saunders takes charge for Colchester clash|
|Aguirre denies any involvement in La Liga match-fixing scandal|
|Mourinho impressed by Koeman´s Southampton|
|QPR v Crystal Palace: Millen recast in familiar role|
|West Ham v Arsenal: Allardyce eyes further home comfort|
|Elusive Coppa Italia on Juventus´ wish list - Marotta|
|Jones eyes swift response|
|Millen focused on QPR clash|
|League Two Preview: Shrewsbury, Wycombe and Burton vie for year-end top spot|
|Mancini not expecting big-money signings at Inter|
|Tottenham v Manchester United: Carrick expects tough return|
|Pearson eager to see Leicester resolve|
|Newcastle United v Everton: Martinez demands clinical touch|
|Liverpool v Swansea City: Rodgers backs returning Mignolet|
|Bayern can still improve - Sammer|
|Warnock sacked by Palace|
|Aston Villa v Sunderland: No club too big to go down, says Lambert|
|Hull City v Leicester City: Pearson vows to keep going|
|Stoke City v West Brom: Hughes targets elusive back-to-back wins|
|Rodgers dismisses Balotelli exit rumours|
|Modric will not rush Madrid return|
|Dyche pleased with Vokes return|
|Southampton v Chelsea: Koeman vows to go on the offensive|
|A-League Review: Six-goal Gosford thriller, Victory leave it late|
|Manchester City v Burnley: Pellegrini warns against complacency|
|Dortmund can fight on two fronts - Watzke|
|Sterling hails improved Liverpool belief|
|Rosicky eager to build on QPR winner|
|Wenger: ´We made it hard for ourselves´|
|Kane: Spurs eye top four|
|Di Maria in doubt for Spurs clash|