Republic of Ireland boss Stephen Kenny praised the "effort and bravery" of his side in their 1-0 defeat against the Netherlands in Amsterdam.
Wout Weghorst's 11th-minute goal proved to be the difference between the teams as the Dutch qualified for Euro 2024.
The loss was the Republic's sixth defeat in eight qualifiers and they will sit out the finals, but Kenny was positive about the performance.
"The players played very well for some periods," he told RTE Sport.
"I think the Netherlands are a world-class team. They are one of the top teams in Europe, we've played them twice, there was nothing in the game in Dublin and nothing here.
"They had a lot of chances and we relied a lot on last-ditch defending and Gavin Bazunu to play well in goal.
"The Republic of Ireland have never won an away game against a tier one team in history and it's because it's very hard."
Bazunu was forced into a number of saves as the Dutch pressed for what proved to be an elusive second goal.
The Republic failed to really test Netherlands goalkeeper Bart Verbruggen until substitute Adam Idah had a goal disallowed for offside in the second period.
Kenny lamented the series of errors that led to Weghorst's well-taken goal that condemned the Republic to an 18th defeat of his 39-game reign.
"We want to eradicate the mistakes. We were desperate to win. It's not easy against a good team like the Netherlands," Kenny said.
"We've rebuilt a team over the last couple of years because it was needed. There's a massive deficit in Irish football."
Tuesday night's friendly against New Zealand at the Aviva Stadium is expected by some to be the under-pressure manager's last game in charge as his contract expires at the end of the European qualifying campaign.
When asked whether it will be his final match at the helm, Kenny could not give clarity.
"I don't control that," he said.
"It is quite possible, but I don't know. All I can say is that I see the effort, the level of skill and bravery from the players, but it wasn't enough; the Netherlands were better than us."