There was regret his team hadn’t managed the away goal in Belgium their performance in the first leg deserved.
Disappointment the early concession to Genk at Turner’s Cross on Thursday sealed their fate before the game had really got going.
And there was pride in his players’ resilience in bouncing back with a second-half performance which gave the faithful something to cheer about at the end of a 2-1 defeat on the night.
But, most of all, Cork City boss John Caulfield believes his team’s Europa League experience this season can inspire them to greater heights, most immediately on the domestic front as they seek to close the gap on leaders Dundalk, beginning with an SSE Airtricity League Premier Division game at home to Sligo on Monday.
“I’ll be disappointed if the Europa League isn’t a stepping stone,” said Caulfield.
“This is where you want to be, you want to be in Europe, and we’ve gone further than this club has ever gone. But it is a stepping stone. Monday night, we’re back to basics. There are no excuses, there is no feeling sorry around here because this is what we do. Maybe the game coming so soon might suit us, it might help us refocus.
“The players are disappointed because they didn’t play as well as they can (on Thursday). Conceding the early goal - you always didn’t want to do that. But Monday is a huge game with the way it’s going in the league. Derry have put themselves back in the picture and we must just keep the pressure on Dundalk.
“What you’re doing is putting all your energy and passion to push the guys, and this year we feel we have a bunch of guys who want to embrace that. Dundalk obviously have it. The last couple of years we’ve been close but we feel we are coming now with a team that might get to that level. Their attitude is great, they want to do it, and for us it’s a pleasure.
“For Dundalk to get into the group stages, of either competition, is a phenomenal achievement.
“But what we’ve shown is our team is quite good. That’s why I’d be disappointed if we don’t drive on. This European campaign gives us more confidence and I hope that will kick us on.”
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