Phil Jagielka admits reaching the FA Cup final would have eased the frustration of a poor season for Everton.
A last-gasp Anthony Martial goal saw Manchester United win 2-1 in their semi-final meeting with the Toffees to keep the pressure up on manager Roberto Martinez.
Everton have struggled for consistency this campaign and Martinez has come under scrutiny from the club’s supporters, who are unhappy with recent performances.
Just one win from their last nine matches has seen them lose this last-four clash and slip into the bottom half of the Barclays Premier League.
And, after returning to the side prematurely following an injury, Jagielka felt reaching the May 21 final would have gone a long way to lifting the sense of gloom.
“We have played well in patches,” said the England defender, who lost the ball to Ander Herrera in the build-up to United’s winner.
“People are quick to point out our negative stuff and we accept it. We’re not in the place we should be in the league.
“It’s been a frustrating season for the players, manager and coaching staff. It would’ve been nice to put a cherry on the cake, but as it was the 90th minute killed us.
“There’s not really much I can say. Losing in a semi-final - we did not play well in the first half, but then took it to them. Kicking towards our fans, we had nothing to lose.
“It was a great end-to-end game and we lost it to the last kick of the game. It was a misplaced pass, it hits his heel, hits foot and then he toes it through - you can tell by my face it’s devastating.
“There was no time to do anything about it. That’s two semi-finals, two losses this season - not a good place to be.
“It had to be a season in a game really because whatever we do in the last few isn’t going to dramatically change our position in the league.
“So it was make or break and we didn’t take our chances when we should (have).”