Motherwell manager Mark McGhee admitted his team were outclassed by Nancy after the French side recorded a 2-0 victory at Fir Park to move into the UEFA Cup group stages.
But McGhee was frustrated by the two set-piece goals they conceded as the visitors moved into a 3-0 aggregate lead inside the first quarter.
The Well boss said: "We can't deny they were a class above us. But we feel we have players who can genuinely aspire to that level. We can't say we can play better - because we can't."
McGhee, who admitted he got his first-leg tactics wrong, defended his unfamiliar 3-5-2 formation and his decision to leave out the in-form Jamie Murphy.
"We knew they would play 3-4-1-2 so rather than get overrun in the middle of the park, I thought we would match them," he said. "To a large extent that worked fine - the set-pieces stitched us up.
"I think we got our tactics in the early part of the game right. We didn't do the practical things well.
"We spoke about not conceding free-kicks and the way the referee would interpret things.
"I felt there was a free-kick on Paul Quinn before the free-kick was given against him, but the referee didn't see it. But Paul has been suckered.
"And when the ball was saved, I expected us to be faster to the rebound. The second one was one of these things."
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