Manchester United left-back Patrice Evra has called his side's shock Champions League exit "embarrassing" and "a catastrophe".
The three-time European champions lost 2-1 at Basel to finish third in Group C and will drop into the Europa League.
"It is embarrassing to be in the Europa League. I play for Manchester United to be in the Champions League," said the 30-year-old France defender.
"It's a catastrophe. We feel very sad but we deserve to go out."
United are the first team to be knocked out at the group stage the season after reaching the final and it is only the third time in 17 years that they have departed Europe's elite club competition at this stage.
It will mean the loss of up to £20m in revenue and an appearance in Uefa's secondary competition, where most matches are played on Thursday nights.
United have made three of the last four Champions League finals, beating Chelsea on penalties in 2008 before losing to Barcelona in 2009 and 2011.
"It's a big disappointment," said Evra, who has been at United for nearly six years and was also a Champions League runner-up with Monaco in 2004.
"Since I played with Monaco, I've never been out in the first round.
"We played with fire. Against Basel at home we were winning 2-0 and we drew against Benfica as well.
"It's not about tonight, it's about the competition. We threw away that qualification."
After an opening 1-1 draw in Benfica, United were held 3-3 by Basel at Old Trafford in the second round of matches.
They twice beat Otelul Galati 2-0 but drew 2-2 with Benfica at home and were beaten in Switzerland.
"We should have woken up earlier in this competition," added Evra.
"It feels like a dream. I feel I will wake up tomorrow and we will have qualified. But it is not a dream, it is the reality.
"Even if it is a friendly, when I pull on a United shirt I do my best to win that trophy.
"I play for Manchester United to play in the Champions League but some players dream of playing for United in any competition and you have to respect that."
Basel took the lead through captain Marco Streller's half-volley following a goalkeeping error by David de Gea.
United hit the bar before falling further behind when Alexander Frei ghosted in behind Chris Smalling to nod home Xherdan Shaqiri's cross.
The visitors responded late on through a Phil Jones header, but Basel held on for a famous triumph.
United also suffered the loss of captain Nemanja Vidic, who was taken off with a serious-looking knee injury.
Local rivals Manchester City will also compete in the Europa League despite beating Bayern Munich 2-0 as they finished behind Napoli, who defeated Villarreal.
United defender Rio Ferdinand said the club would not treat the competition with disdain.
"Whatever competition we are in, we go in to win," he said.
"We are devastated to go out at this stage of the tournament. We've got to look back at games at Old Trafford where we have not finished teams off.
"Nights at Old Trafford under the lights with the Champions League music coming on are what you live for.
"We've gone out early this year and we can't look at anyone else but ourselves.
"We will round up each ther, dust ourselves down and move on to the next game. That's what makes this club so great. We won't well on what's gone on."