Matt O’Connor says Leicester Tigers’ effort and commitment were not in question in Castres, but they were given a lesson in finishing by the home side.
Tigers enjoyed more than parity in terms of territory and possession on their first-ever trip to the Stade Pierre Fabre on Sunday, but were beaten 39-0 by a Castres Olympique side who ran in five tries, including one in the opening minute of the game.
“I thought we worked incredibly hard, but we started slowly and Castres were very good in the first half. We struggled to stop their momentum,” said Tigers head coach O’Connor.
“If you’re not behind on the scoreboard at the start, you can kick your goals and stay in the game, but when you start like that it puts pressure on the group.
“We had a lot of opportunities and field position in the second half but we didn’t execute on them and that was the story really.
“In the second half we had enough opportunities to make an impression on the scoreboard. We dominated field position, had a lot of opportunities in their 22 that we didn’t execute on them. We didn’t take our chances and that was the huge lesson we take from tonight.
"Castres were very good in their execution and they made us pay. They are a good side, they’re top four in France for a reason. Full credit to them, they defended well, they made it difficult to get over the line and that's what you can do when you are on the right side of the scoreline.
“There are two or three genuine try-scoring opportunities for us there which you have to execute on. If you don’t, you come second, and that is what happened.”
Tigers' final fixture in Pool 4 in the European Champions Cup is against Racing 92 at Welford Road on Sunday (1.00pm). Match tickets are available now.