Nottingham Forest boss Sabri Lamouchi has labelled his side's failure to reach the Sky Bet Championship play-offs "a disaster" and "unacceptable".
The Reds, in the top six for much of the season, capitulated against Stoke at the City Ground, conceding three goals in 20 minutes as their promotion hopes vanished.
Lamouchi's team went into the final round of fixtures firmly in the driving seat as his side, Cardiff and Swansea all tried to cement a top-six finish.
Forest could even afford to lose as long as there was not a dramatic swing in goal difference with Swansea. However, that is exactly what happened.
Danny Batth put Stoke in front after 19 minutes but Forest equalised through Tobias Figueiredo just after the hour.
Goals from Republic of Ireland winger James McClean, Lee Gregory and an own goal by Joia Nuno Da Costa saw Forest slump to a 4-1 defeat while Swansea won by the same scoreline at Reading and leapfrogged Lamouchi's team in dramatic fashion.
The Frenchman, visibly upset, said: "Honestly, I don't have any words. I can't explain what has happened tonight, what has happened in the last five or six games. How it is possible not to secure the play-offs - I can't explain.
"Looking back at the game I can't explain what has happened. For 20 minutes before the end we have lost control.
"I don't have the words in my mind now, it is just a disaster. It is unacceptable. I am just so sorry for the fans and the Forest community. For them to follow us all season and us to lose it today like this is just unacceptable. It is unacceptable.
"After what we have done for 12-13 months, it is unacceptable. I am so sorry that we were short tonight. I can't find the words for what has happened. The true Forest is out of the play-offs and it is our fault.
"Probably we were tired, and to play without any fans at the City Ground is difficult for sure, but I can't accept it as a reason. It is unacceptable.
"We have missed many many opportunities to secure the play-offs and we are where we are now for our own fault - nothing else. I am really, really upset."