Maximilian Arnold felt Wolfsburg paid the price for a negative performance in the early stages of their Champions League exit at the hands of Real Madrid.
Arnold was one of the goalscorers in the first-leg victory that gave Wolfsburg a 2-0 lead going into Tuesday's return fixture at Santiago Bernabeu, but Cristiano Ronaldo's hat-trick turned the quarter-final tie on its head and sent the hosts through 3-2 on aggregate.
The Wolfsburg midfielder was impressed by how his team fought until the end of the game, but was in no doubt it was an overly cautious start to the match which had cost them the tie.
"It is bitterly disappointing considering the 2-0 lead from the first leg," he told the club's official website.
"In the first 20 minutes we were far too cautious, but we got a grip on ourselves after that. Up front, we lacked the necessary luck."
Goalkeeper Diego Benaglio thought Madrid's ecstatic reaction to completing the turnaround proved how close Wolfsburg had come to causing a stunning European upset.
"When you see the relief at Real, it's fair to say, we were not far from causing a sensation," he said.
"We reacted well to falling 2-0 down and showed a good reaction to the first half after the break."