General manager Marco Bollesan could not hide his disappointment after watching Italy crumble in the face of an "average" France.
For the third straight match in the RBS 6 Nations Championship, the Azzurri held the lead on Saturday only to let it slip and fall to their 10th successive defeat in the competition.
But unlike their opening two displays against Ireland and England, Pierre Berbizier's men completely lost their way in the second half, allowing the hosts to rain down 29 unanswered points en route to a 37-12 win.
It was all looking so good after an opening 40 minutes when three penalties and a drop goal from Ramiro Pez had put them on course for their first ever Six Nations away win.
"We played a good first half, with a great defensive display," Bollesan said. "We conceded little and we were able to get important points with Ramiro Pez, and our hopes were quite high.
"Also, the beginning of the second half was going well for us, but after the French started pushing us back and scored a try, we started to lose ourselves, and the game was going their way.
"At certain points I saw the team confused and clumsy and in the last 20 minutes we didn't really play at all.
"From my point of view I saw a very average display from the French team, but they were able to beat us by a large score because our second half was not good enough."
As head coach Stuart Lancaster polishes the axe he will soon wield over his World Cup training squad, Exeter Chiefs coach Rob Baxter has backed Jack Nowell, Henry Slade and Luke Cowan-Dickie to be given a stay of execution.
Italy Under-20s held off a late Samoa blitz to retain their place in the World Rugby U20 Championship on Saturday and head coach Alessandro Troncon believes the experience will have served as a valuable lesson for his young troops.