Head Coach says Ospreys will have to learn their lessons the 'hard way'
Speaking after the game, Holley couldn't contain his disappointment at the way his side had allowed their French opponents to gain control of the match through their own indiscipline. He said:
"You have to give full credit to Clermont as we were beaten by the better side. We came here with belief and hope, we really had ambition, and I think you saw that in the opening exchanges. We took the game to them and looked effective and a real threat with the ball in hand.
"But, ultimately, the penalty count was 14-2 against us I'm told, and that clearly had an effect in the end. If you are constantly giving away possession and territory, it's very difficult to mount any kind of challenge. Indiscipline played a real part in our downfall. Because of the penalty count, they were able to keep pegging us back and they imposed a lot of pressure on us.
"In fairness, we defended bravely and that was a real plus point for us again, until the end when gaps started opening up as we chased for the bonus point and the inevitable happened. You'd presume now that Clermont are on their way to a good win against Viadana, particularly based on the way they played out there, so that means we have to change our focus over the next week. We can't cry over it, we have to accept where we are. We've said over the last few weeks that we we are improving week on week, that we are building, well today is maybe a bit of a reality check for anyone who thought that because we've won a few games we were set to conquer Europe.
"We're extremely disappointed as we feel that we didn't do ourselves justice, and we are disappointed for the fans, but we have to admit, again, Clermont were worthy winners. This is always a difficult place to come, it is a fantastic rugby arena and the atmosphere was incredible, the crowd were magnificent for them. But ultimately, we haven't been able to play the part in the afternoon that we really wanted to, and I think that is what disappoints the most. We spoke at length about discipline and the need to keep the penalty count down, but it seems that we have had to learn the lesson the hard way.
"It won't be difficult to pick ourselves up from this, we have another gigantic task next week. It's Leicester, we're at home and it's a winner-takes-all clash. It's a rematch from last year. We are still in a position to qualify and that will sharpen our focus. We can't worry about who we could face in the quarter-finals, that the home quarter-final we targeted looks out of the window. We just have to get there.
"We've seen today a real example of a team effort, players and crowd alike working together, and we will need something similar next week, as make no mistake, with England's leading team coming to the Liberty Stadium needing to win, it won't get any easier."