Shanghai Shenhua issued a public apology to the club's fans after Gustavo Poyet's side were eliminated from the Asian Champions League on Wednesday, despite fielding new big-money purchase Carlos Tevez.
Shenhua slipped to a 2-0 defeat at the hands of Australia's Brisbane Roar, leaving Tevez -- who was signed amid much fanfare in early January from Boca Juniors -- and his teammates to concentrate on the domestic season when it kicks off at the start of March.
"For the shame of today's result, we offer a sincere apology to all those fans who braved the bitter cold to come to the stadium and support Shenhua," the statement read.
"The players all did their best, and we longed to win as much as you did, but sometimes football can just be so cruel. When you are wasting opportunities, wins will be far from you. It is hard and we have no choice. But we won't give up.
"The spirit of Shanghai Shenhua won't be gone just because of one match. We will review everything carefully and use this experience as a warning for the future, we will fight and prepare at our best for the new season ahead of us."
Goals from Brando Borrello and Tommy Oar earned Brisbane a place in the group stages of the competition, where they will play Japanese champions Kashima Antlers, Muangthong United of Thailand and South Korea's Ulsan Hyundai, while Shanghai will be looking to ensure they have a chance to be involved in next year's continental club championship through their form in the Chinese Super League (CSL).
Poyet's team will kick off their league campaign on March 5 with a clash against another big spending club, Jiangsu Suning, who finished runners-up in both the league and the Chinese FA Cup last season.
Defending CSL champions Guangzhou Evergrande will start their season hosting Beijing Guoan on the same day, while Shanghai SIPG, who have twice broken the Asian transfer record in the last 12 months including with the signing of Oscar from Chelsea for €60 million, open their campaign against Yanbian Funde on March 4.