GLOUCESTER director of rugby David Humphreys admitted their European Challenge Cup final defeat by Stade Francais boiled down to a simple fact - they could not get hold of the ball.

Humphreys' side lost 25-17 at BT Murrayfield after spending the vast majority of the game inside their own half and Humphreys felt they had been put under huge pressure at the set-piece.

The Cherry and Whites took a 10-point lead after Jonny May's interception try against the run of play but Sergio Parisse's response helped ensure the Top 14 side were level before the interval and they dominated the second half.

Gloucester emerged unscathed from Willi Heinz's spell in the sin-bin but tries from centres Jonathan Danty and Geoffrey Doumayrou made the French side's pressure count, with Ross Moriarty's late reply only a consolation.

Humphreys said: "It's very, very hard to play any sort of rugby when you have no ball, when your set-piece is under pressure, and I thought Stade put us under massive pressure at set-piece.

"One thing you can never question about this team is the character, the determination, and they defended magnificently for large periods of the game.

"But against a team as good as Stade, at one point you are going to slip a tackle if we can't keep the ball. Ultimately we just didn't have any possession.

"We had two set-pieces in the Stade Francais half the whole game, one scrum, one lineout, and our game has been built around good field positions. We were under pressure and our penalty count was high.

"We couldn't put Stade under pressure in the same way they were making us defend for long periods.

"There were three things - lack of field position, lack of quality set-piece delivery and too many penalties - (which) cost us the opportunity to win the game."

Stade Francais captain Parisse was part of two of his club's four defeats in European finals so the long-serving Italian savoured their first success.

The number eight said: "I am very proud and very happy for the team, the group and the club.

"We really wanted to show that we were solid and we deserved this trophy. We had to win this title.

"We maybe didn't play the best rugby match of our lives with regards to our capabilities but we did well enough and I'm proud of everyone at the club.

"We wrote a new chapter in the history of Stade Francais so we are very happy."