Diego Simeone praised the efforts of his Atletico Madrid players but was left frustrated by their inability to score a second goal against Real Madrid.
Radamel Falcao gave los Rojiblancos an early lead but an own goal from Juanfran and an Angel Di Maria winner ensured that it was the visitors who took the three points in a 2-1 win.
Speaking to journalists after the game, Simeone praised the performance of his team but confessed that their profligacy in front of goal had frustrated him.
"The merits do matter, but the goals are what count," the 42-year-old Argentine said. "They were more convincing in front of goal. We've had the match we needed to have, but we went without the result.
"It was a missed opportunity. The match started very well, but then they got their goal not long after ours.
"Regarding the performance, on the face of the way of playing and intention of winning, that was always there.
"For the first 30 minutes we played in the half of our rivals, but this is the grand thing in football, the ones who get the goals win."
The defeat leaves los Colchoneros six points behind Jose Mourinho's side in La Liga, but the Copa del Rey final will offer Simeone's team a chance of redemption.
"There's another chance in a short while, two next year and another two the next," the former Argentina midfielder added.
"There will always be opportunities and hopefully we can win the most important game. We have another opportunity [in the final] on May 17, which certainly many feel isn't possible, which is better for us."