Munster head coach Johann van Graan says he is proud of the fight his players showed in their Champions Cup semi-final defeat to Racing 92, but insisted that "we'll have to look at ourselves" in assessing their performance.
Hopes of an all-Ireland Champions Cup final were dashed comprehensively by the Top14 outfit, who posted three tries on the scoreboard inside the opening 22 minutes of the clash.
Munster rallied from a 27-3 deficit to finish within five points of their opponents in Bordeaux, but their revival came far too late as Racing booked their place in the decider alongside Leinster next month.
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"It's a tough one to take," a dejected Van Graan told RTÉ Sport in the aftermath of the 27-22 defeat.
"You can't start a European semi-final like that and expect to win. I'm very proud of the way the boys fought back and how we clawed our way into the game.
"But there were a few big moments - Teddy Thomas scored two fantastic tries and we had a few opportunities just before half-time but that's gone now. You need to take your opportunities in a semi-final and the clock just caught us at the end, so we're very disappointed."
He added: "I'm very positive about the fact that we got to a semi-final. I think the disappointing thing for us as a squad was that we prepared so well for this game and we'll have to go and have a look at ourselves and the reasons why we didn't start this game particularly well.
"At the end of the game you've got to see it in perspective, we fought back well and I'm proud of that but it's not good enough to win a semi-final."
After a disappointing start, Munster managed to create a few scoring opportunities towards the end of the opening half. But Racing proved to be an impenetrable force in their half of the pitch, and reduced the visiting side to just a penalty before the half-time break.
A run of tries from Simon Zebo, Rhys Marshall and Andrew Conway arrived after the hour mark to cut the gap on the scoreboard, but they ran out of time to continue their comeback.
Van Graan believes that had his charges converted some of those earlier chances, it could have altered the complexion of the game.
"Five minutes before half-time we camped on the line, and all credit to Racing as well, they didn't allow us to get over the line, they conceded a number of penalties on their own '22 but credit to them.
"I think they slowed the game down pretty well in the last 20 minutes. We've got no excuse. You need to be the better team over 80 minutes. We weren't today and all credit to Racing."