It was hard to take and Les Kiss had the demeanour of a man who could scarcely believe that his side had surrendered the game in the manner which it had departed them.
Two late tries had delivered the coup de grace after Ulster had seemingly survived the best shots a far from convincing Cardiff had thrown at them which, of course, meant that Kiss now had to sift through the debris of a second successive PRO12 reverse.
But there was no talk of crisis as Ulster now lick their wounds and prepare for the quick turnaround for Friday's home meeting with Zebre which has absolute must-win daubed all over it.
"It's disappointing," Kiss said with more than a decent helping of understatement.
"The important thing is that we understand the solutions going forward.
"We've had two losses in a row now and we just have to be very real about the challenge ahead.
"We have to get the result this week against Zebre," he added.
Leaving ninth-placed Cardiff empty-handed was also a major blow for Kiss whose side at least remain in fourth but have now shipped injuries to yesterday's starting centres Luke Marshall (ankle) and a serious looking one for Sam Arnold (hamstring).
When asked to reflect on how his side went from leading early in the second half to surrendering two converted tries in the last eight minutes Kiss called it as it was.
"Our one-on-one tackles and our short side defence was exposed a few times.
"Maybe it was mental lapses more than anything. I think we made 205 tackles and they made 95 so there is a glut of data which doesn't help you but we'd still expect to win that one and unfortunately we didn't."