Goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel said Leicester City's fate was sealed in the first half after their 2-1 defeat to Derby County at Pride Park.
Poor defending allowed Richard Keogh to head the Rams in front and then Chris Martin left City with a mountain to climb with a second just before half-time.
City came back in the second period and Jeff Schlupp reduced the arrears, but it was too little, too late for Nigel Pearson's men.
Schmeichel admitted it appeared as though the Rams wanted it more than City.
"We lost it in the first half, no question," he said.
"We didn't start well and they looked as though they wanted it more than us. It is very disappointing.
"In the second half, we showed more commitment, urgency and belief, but the damage was done.
"I can only do what comes at me and I couldn't do much about the goals. But it is very disappointing.
"We have to do better than that in the first half. Recently, it has been as if we have needed to concede a goal to get going.
"I think in this division you can't afford to go a goal down because it is very tough to come back, and it just wasn't good enough. I am absolutely devastated."
City go into the international break on the back of a run of one win in nine games, and Schmeichel said they had to regroup and reassess where they are going during the break.
"We definitely haven't performed as we should have done in the last eight or whatever it is games," he said.
"We go away on the international break and regroup, and I am sure we will bounce back."
Schmeichel is one of four City players on international duty.
Schmeichel will be away with the Denmark squad, while Andy King (Wales), Sean St Ledger (Republic of Ireland) and Chris Wood (New Zealand) will also be absent this week.
Development squad member Joe Dodoo is on standby for England Under-19s, while team-mate Steven Smith is with the Republic of Ireland Under-19s squad.