Darijo Srna told UEFA.com he felt FC Shakhtar Donetsk had "a good season" in the UEFA Champions League despite bowing out against Borussia Dortmund in the round of 16.
After drawing the first leg 2-2 on home turf, the Ukrainian title holders were never in contention in Tuesday's sequel as goals from Felipe Santana, Mario Götze and Jakub Błaszczykowski earned the German champions a 3-0 victory, which took them through 5-2 on aggregate.
"Of course we're disappointed but we were playing against a very good team," said the 100-times capped Croatian international, who suggested Shakhtar's recent return from a three-month winter break had left them somewhat rusty.
After going into domestic hibernation at the end of November, Shakhtar's first competitive match after nearly three months off was the first leg against Dortmund in mid-February, before last weekend's 4-1 win against FC Volyn Lutsk as the Ukrainian Premier-Liha resumed.
"It was a big problem for us to play our first competitive game after so long against Dortmund," said the 30-year-old right-back. "We got two good results, but to then come over here and play this team in an atmosphere like that was very difficult."
Dortmund looked alert and hungry from the first whistle at the intimidating BVB Stadion. "The problem was that Borussia are used to playing at a higher level," explained Srna, who opened the scoring in the tie with a spectacular free-kick at the Donbass Arena three weeks ago. "The German league is a lot stronger than the Ukrainian, and if you look at the mistakes we made tonight, there were simply too many."
With a view to improving in next season's UEFA Champions League, Shakhtar must learn from those mistakes according to Srna, who added that a certain amount of misfortune earlier in the competition had contributed to Shakhtar's eventual elimination.
"We were a bit unlucky," he said. "We had two or three good opportunities to finish top of our group but we conceded a goal in the last second [against Chelsea FC] in London – and against Juventus we needed a point at home and lost 1-0.
"With a bit more luck we'd have finished first and been drawn against Celtic, but we have to look to the future now. We're a big team and we must be confident that one day we can reach a quarter or semi-final."
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