Nottingham Rugby completed their season with a disappointing 27-13 defeat to London Welsh at Meadow Lane in their final play-off game on Saturday.
Craig Hammond and Tim Streather struck for Nottingham, but tries from Paul Sampson, Michael Holford and Dominic Shabbo secured victory for Welsh.
"It was arguably our poorest performance of the year," said Nottingham chief Glenn Delaney.
"We gave two intercept tries away and our composure just wasn't there."
The result sees the Green and Whites finish third of four in their play-off pool, while London Welsh look forward to a play-off semi-final against Cornish Pirates.
Delaney added: "We had two good performances in the play-offs at home to Bristol and Worcester, but certainly the last three games have not been of the standard we have worked for and come to expect."
But despite their anti-climatic performance in the play-offs, with just one win from six matches, the club have made huge advances this season.
Merging with Notts County owner Ray Trew, breaking the 3,000 attendance barrier for a competitive game [against Munster, 3186] and All Black Ali Williams' four-game cameo all indicate the club's intentions - much to Delaney's delight.
"I think we've made massive steps forward and I think the change in ownership is going to really give us some stability and the chance to build.
"We want this club to be a top club again. We've got to keep building and little knocks like this can only help to motivate you to make a better effort next year."
And Delaney acknowledges that while he wants to keep his group of players together in an attempt to replicate the consistency of this season's top four - Worcester, Cornish Pirates, Bedford and Welsh - changes are necessary for next season.
"I think the consistency of the team and keeping the group together is something we want to be doing.
"But there will be changes to the squad. We need to be stronger and deeper.
"We've got to have a group of players who can play at the level needed in the play-offs, which is a very different type of rugby. It's a very hard, unforgiving area if you're making mistakes."
The Green and Whites have already secured the services of talented Rotherham fly-half Juan Pablo Socino, alongside Nic Rouse from Sale Sharks and Matt Parr from Leicester Tigers, in an early attempt to bolster their squad.