Italy coach Jacques Brunel was left to ponder the shortcomings of his team following their 12-30 defeat by France in their opening Six Nations match on Saturday.
The Italians dominated possession and territory for large periods of the game but simply could not convert all that pressure into points, looking extremely toothless out wide and with a half-back pairing that was average at best.
Also worrying for a team whose strength has always been based on a strong tight five, their scrum creaked badly, and they lost two against the head, one of which led directly to a crucial French try.
"In the first half, we kept a lot of possession and took the initiative, and dominated territory, and were only 15-6 down at half-time," said Brunel, who took over from South African Nick Mallett after the World Cup.
"But we made two mistakes in the scrum, which didn't go well, and we paid a heavy price.
"We showed a good spirit on the pitch, always trying to attack and put the French on the backfoot. It's sometimes difficult to find the words to explain the missed passes and everything else that went wrong.
"We put the French defence under pressure but the final gesture just got away from us, but the spirit was there and that's the most important thing."
The main lesson learnt, Brunel said, was for all "to know that to dominate is not to win".
"I think we enjoyed 75 percent of territory and 65 percent of possession in the first half," he said.
"We also had three or four chances to score a try but we never managed it, as France did.
"That shows their value, they were able to turn everything around with very few chances. That's the difference.
"But we're on an interesting path. We want to continue advancing."
Captain Sergio Parisse, who plies his club trade with Top 14 outfit Stade Francais, called on his team to be more cynical.
"We've had very little time to work together before this match. We knew coming here for a result would be tough against a team who are World Cup vice champions, at home," the No 8 said.
"We showed ambition, a desire to play, we had lots of ball but we needed to be more cynical because we had chances to score but didn't."
He added: "At half-time with the score at 15-6, we said to one another 'hey that's not bad, we can cause them trouble'.
"But I don't recall having dominated the game. France had some ball on the turnover, played it well and managed to score some tries."
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