Exeter boss Paul Tisdale refused to criticise his players following the 4-2 defeat to Burton Albion on Saturday.
The in-form Brewers raced into a 4-0 lead before goals from Guillem Bauza and Scot Bennett launched a belated fightback.
Tisdale said: "Burton deserved to win, simple as that. We did our best, but it wasn't good enough because on the day they were better than we were.
"I'm not too unhappy with my players because sometimes you have to accept there are days when the opposition are better than you.
"We didn't read the game quite as well as we should have done and I've highlighted a couple of areas where we need to improve, but I'm not going to criticise players who haven't let me down at all this season.
"Burton executed their performance better than we did, but I also don't think we were that bad that we deserved to concede four goals."