Downing rueful after UEFA Cup drubbing
Middlesbrough's UEFA Cup luck ran out as rampant Sevilla powered their way to victory in Eindhoven.
Boro, who had engineered magnificent fightbacks in each of the previous two rounds, could not manage a repeat in the final as the Spaniards surged into the lead and then killed them off with a devastating display of finishing.
Midfielder Stewart Downing went into the game still celebrating his call-up to the England World Cup finals squad, but was left to reflect on what might have been.
'We had to go and attack them in the second half and the result didn't reflect the game,' said the 21-year-old. 'It definitely wasn't a 4-0 game.
'We had chances, but we didn't take them. You need that little bit of luck, and obviously it was with them and not us.'
Boro felt they should have had a penalty at 1-0 when defender Javi Navarro ploughed into Mark Viduka inside the area, but it was not to be.
'They got away with a lot of things, to be honest, but there's no point in moaning about it,' said Downing, who was given no quarter by impressive full-back Daniel Alves.
'We were beaten at the end of the day and it didn't go for us.'
Sevilla took the lead on 26 minutes when Brazilian striker Luis Fabiano headed home from an Alves cross.
Boro rarely threatened during the opening 45 minutes, but the introduction of European hero Massimo Maccarone at half-time briefly sparked them into life.
Viduka saw keeper Andres Palop make a point-blank 52nd-minute save as the spirits of the 9,200 Boro fans at the PSV Stadium rose, although their optimism died with the penalty incident which went unpunished by German referee Herbert Fandel.
Italian midfielder Enzo Maresca made it 2-0 with 12 minutes remaining and then wrapped up the victory with a long-range effort on 84 minutes.
To make matters worse, former West Ham and Tottenham striker Fredi Kanoute, who had replaced Javier Saviola at the break, completed the rout with a minute left to ensure a disappointing end to manager Steve McClaren's reign.
'It's disappointing, but I think 4-0 is a bit harsh on us,' said defender Franck Queudrue. 'We threw everything into the battle and they finished us.
'But that's football, it's cruel sometimes and tonight was cruel because we deserved better.
'At 1-0 down, we should have had a penalty and Mark had a great chance as well.
'But the keeper made a great save, to be fair.'
The result means no European football for Boro next season as chairman Steve Gibson steps up the search for a new manager and attempts to tie up the futures of his out-of-contract players.