Director of Rugby Mark Hammett admitted a difficult opening half at the Liberty Stadium had ultimately cost his Cardiff Blues as they lost 26-15 to table toppers Ospreys in the Guinness PRO12 derby.
Ospreys opened up a 19-3 lead at the break as the boot of Dan Biggar and a try from Dan Evans saw the home side dominate territory and possession.
Blues showed plenty of spirit in the second half and were rewarded with late scores from Lloyd Williams and Kristian Dacey.
However, Hammer was taking nothing away from the impressive Ospreys and admitted his side would now need to respond as European competition takes centre stage in the coming weeks.
“We will take heart from the fact that we didn’t give up, but we had the chase the game and that is something we’ve had to do too much recently,” he said.
“The good things came way too late. While we had some good shape late on and put pressure on in the last 20 minutes, the game was won by Ospreys by then.
“I thought the Ospreys played very well,” he added. “In terms of territory, I thought they battered us and their kicking game was good.
“The penalty count, which was high against us at half-time, hurt us and when you are on the end of that it equals points or position.
“At half-time that had 67percent territory and that cost us. In the first half we probably only really had three or four areas where we could launch from and that is just not enough.
“The boys were up for it and you could see that in our physicality. You could see that through our counter drive at lineout time. The intent was there, but intent without direction is not always positive.”
Reflecting on the opening six rounds of the Guinness PRO12 season, Hammer insisted Cardiff Blues would benefit from the difficult run of results in the long-term.
“I’m not down hearted,” he said. “I hate losing as much as anyone, but I’ve come in and inherited a group.
“I care for them already, but there are some realities of where we are and when you are going through a period of change and trying to develop these things don’t come quicker. It will take time.”