Feyenoord's Champions League dream is not over, according to Giovanni van Bronckhorst but Dutch boss admitted a 2-1 home defeat to Shakhtar Donetsk has made qualification from Group F "very difficult".
Steven Berghuis gave Feyenoord hope of picking up their first points of the campaign when he put the hosts ahead after seven minutes at De Kuip on Tuesday.
However, goals in either half from Shakhtar's Brazilian winger Bernard ensured the Ukrainian visitors left with their first European away victory in six attempts.
Van Bronckhorst, who won the Champions League as a player with Barcelona in 2006, saw an improvement in Feyenoord's play from their defeats to Napoli and Manchester City, but said his team lacks experience at the very top level.
"We played excellent today," the former Netherlands international told Veronica TV.
"We made another step in the Champions League, but that did not lead to points.
"But that's their [Shakhtar's] quality. They are a good football team and I think we've been good, but that's not enough.
"Shakhtar has been through the group phase for the last eight years and I think we're getting closer to that level by playing these kinds of matches.
"We are getting closer to that level. We are getting better through this kind of game."
Feyenoord have lost their last 10 consecutive Champions League games – the Eredivisie team's last victory in the competition coming in 2002 when they beat Newcastle United 1-0 at St James' Park.
Their recent form in all competitions is little better, with just two wins, one draw and five defeats in eight matches.
They are bottom of Group F in the Champions League with three games remaining, but Van Bronckhorst said: "This European adventure isn't over.
"It will be very difficult now. We will play the next three games well and then we'll see where the ship is going."