Wales skipper Craig Bellamy struggled to find the positives as his country's World Cup dreams finally became mathematically impossible following their 3-1 defeat at home to Russia.
But the Manchester City striker accepted the fact that his young colleagues cannot handle the genuine quality and experience of the world's best players.
"There were positive, we played well and came at them after the break," said Bellamy of Wednesday night's defeat. "But this is a different level, you are punished for mistakes. We did not deserve to lose 3-1, but that is what happens when you make mistakes."
He added: "It's a harsh lesson for some of the young players. We gave away a soft free-kick and we didn't clear our lines for their third. James Collins didn't want to lump it up field, but sometimes you have to do that.
"But the group is not over for us. We can still get six points and that could give us third spot. We have to look at that now as the objective to help with seedings in future tournaments."
"I played a bit deeper, not really with a striker, and we tried to attack at pace. We certainly had enough efforts on goal so the tactics did work.
"We have good athletes around the squad, and the attacking side was not a problem. We felt we did that bit well.
"But we found a team with players at a higher level, and that shows. This Russian side is their best for 10 years."
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