Head coach Sabri Lamouchi was unable to explain the reasons for Nottingham Forest’s “disaster” in missing out on the Championship play-offs.
Forest needed just a point at home against Stoke to seal a top-six finish, having missed the chance in Sunday’s defeat by Barnsley, but lost 4-1.
Wednesday’s defeat by three goals, as well as Swansea’s 4-1 win at Reading, saw Forest drop down to seventh.
“It’s difficult to react,” Lamouchi told BBC Radio Nottingham.
“I’m here because it’s obligatory to be here, but I don’t have words. It’s a disaster, to lose everything in the last game at home.
“I’m so sorry. Sorry to the fans for the last few games.
“For me, it doesn’t feel real, but it is the truth. We are out of the play-offs. It’s just unacceptable.”
Lamouchi’s appointment last summer to replace departed club legend Martin O’Neill has been a positive one on the whole for Forest, the former France international transforming them into promotion contenders for much of the campaign with attractive football and key signings such as goalkeeper Brice Samba, midfielder Samba Sow and playmaker Tiago Silva.
Yet the promotion challenge scenario is a familiar one for Forest, whose play-off record is forgettable and who have previously finished seventh, eighth and ninth to miss out over the past seven years.
They failed to win any of their final five games after Chris Martin’s injury-time equaliser for fierce rivals Derby County denied Forest a third straight victory.
“One point was enough tonight,” Lamouchi added. “Enough three days ago, enough last week. We were so close.
“I’m so down thinking about the fans, the club, my family, the players and staff.
“It was unacceptable what has happened in the last five games. I was furious after Derby for this reason, as we looked to be secure before what we didn’t want to happen, happened.
“How is it possible? To fight all the whole season, for many games, and many weeks and now we are out of that.”