Motherwell manager Stuart McCall was disappointed his side failed to play to their potential against Levante as a 2-0 defeat to the Spaniards at Fir Park left them with little chance of reaching the Europa League group stages.
Motherwell were caught out waiting for an offside flag against Theofanis Gekas before left-winger Juanlu ran from deep to open the scoring. They were cut open again as substitute Nabil El Zhar was given time and space to finish from 10 yards. Shaun Hutchinson was then sent off for a last-man foul which leaves the visitors with an even bigger task in Valencia next Thursday.
Motherwell lost 2-0 at home to Panathinaikos in the Champions League but created half a dozen decent chances and held their own in possession, however, they could not match that display. McCall said: "I thought they were better than Panathinaikos, technically they were excellent on the ball, but we never reached the heights that we did against Panathinaikos."
McCall went on: "I came and sat here after the Panathinaikos game and was proud and thought we played particularly well. There is a sense of disappointment because as good a side as they are, we didn't pass the ball as well as we could.
"We started off okay, we had a few crosses early on, and had a decent tempo, then after about 20 minutes they took control.
"On saying that we were looking to get to half-time goalless then maybe change it a bit. It's the way we lost the goal that deflated us. There's no doubt it's a fair goal. The lad in the middle was offside but in fairness we didn't react to the winger running from an onside position to score.
"We had to lift them and we got a good reaction for 15 minutes, great bit of defensive work when (Henrik) Ojamaa had our only clear sight of goal, and thereafter we didn't defend the second goal. They got in behind us and they showed the quality with the cutback. We had a couple of opportunities to pick better passes and we didn't, and they did.
"We can have no complaints, they were far better than us on the night."
Levante manager Juan Ignacio Martinez made a point of being modest in victory but he was delighted with the advantage.
"It was a tight game and they put us under a lot of pressure. At times it looked like it would have been more like 1-1 than 2-0," he said. "We have certainly made a giant step towards qualifying. We played an excellent game, and a fantastic first half."
- Nabil El Zhar