Cape Town - Orlando Pirates defender Ayanda Gcaba believes the Soweto giants were made to pay for an underwhelming performance at home in the two-legged final of the CAF Confederation Cup.
The Buccaneers were unable to make full use of their home advantage in the first leg, recording a frustrating 1-1 draw with Etoile du Sahel at the Orlando Stadium.
As such, the Tunisians needed a 1-0 win in the second leg to secure the continental trophy, and that's exactly how things turned out as Ammar Jemal scored in the 23rd minute to fire Etoile to a 2-1 aggregate victory.
While many will point to the 1-0 defeat as the deciding factor in Pirates failure to claim the silverware on offer, Gcaba does not share that view.
"We did play well, even though it never came our way," Gcaba told the Herald.
"But we're very disappointed. We came here for a win, I think we gave it away at home with a 1-1 draw.
"Coming here, we knew we had to fight. The guys tried their best to create opportunities, and we did manage to get some."
He added: "I think people don't realise how tiring it is. You get to an airport, spend six hours there, then connect to a new place. You get there, rest for an hour or two, then go to training, prepare for a game, go to a game and play.
"Then you do the same procedure coming back home. Sometimes people criticise us for our form at home.
"Whatever people say, as players we see it in newspapers or on Twitter, and we take it into consideration, and turn it into a positive that will inspire us."
Pirates, who are expected to arrive back in South Africa on Wednesday, can now look forward to a brief break from football before beginning their preparations for a crunch Premiership clash with Mamelodi Sundowns on 20 December.