Jimmy Adams felt Hampshire’s failure to find a big total at the top of the order cost them as they lost to Sussex.
The skipper saw his men beaten in their first Championship match of the season yesterday.
They collapsed from 181 for four to 285 all out to lose before lunch.
It was a disappointment after good play on day three had seen them in with a shot of an opening victory at the Ageas Bowl – although in reality that always looked on the unlikely side.
Adams praised the character of the team for the effort on Tuesday to keep them in the game.
But he felt the big individual score they needed was just lacking.
He said: ‘I thought the guys showed a lot of character and gave us a chance of winning the game – but it wasn’t to be.
‘We missed a big score from one of the top six, which was the difference in the two teams.’
On the final day, Will Smith and Adam Wheater both fell quickly.
Sussex off-spinner Luke Wells (two wickets for 24 runs) claimed the vital scalp of Sean Ervine for 42.
Chris Wood hit a straight six off Wells and two fours in his innings of 30.
But he then edged a ball from Steve Magoffin to the wicketkeeper.
And Wells completed the victory three overs later.
He bowled last-man James Tomlinson to bring the game to an end.