The New Saints boss Scott Ruscoe believes his side improved in their Europa League third qualifying round second leg defeat to Ludogorets Razgrad.

But he still felt too much respect was shown in their 4-0 'home' defeat at Wrexham's Racecourse ground, with the Bulgarian champions picking up a 9-0 aggregate win.

And Ruscoe pinpointed the cause behind the gulf in class between TNS and the two sides who have dumped them out of European competition in 2019 – money.

"The second half was a lot better than the first half – we didn't lay a glove on them in the first half," said the Saints boss.

"We showed them too much respect but we wanted a reaction like we did at Shkendija last year where we let ourselves down in the first leg but made it up in the second.

these levels are vast but I've told the players I'm proud of what we've done over pre-season but this week was one step too far for us.

"The club can make that next step if we get another £5-10 million in the budget, and start giving payers four or five thousand a week.

"For the group stages, we need players who are on £250,000 per year, right through the spine of the team and we haven't got that.

"It's the standard of the Welsh Premier League – how are we going to attract those players to the league? It's very difficult but we've got a plan that we're going to work to.

"I've spoken to the chairman and we're going to try to keep improving, but Copenhagen have a 40 million Euro budget.

"Ours is £650,000 and I don't expect anything else. But I'm really proud of our players to go to Kosovo and Copenhagen, but Razgrad was too much."

Ruscoe admitted his side's defending in Wrexham was not at its best, but he says he has no fears ahead of the start of the Welsh Premier League on Sunday, with Caernarfon Town arriving at Park Hall.

"I'm not worried about that defending going into the Welsh Premier League," he said.

"Blaine Hudson has had an ankle operation but we put him back in because of how much we rate him.

"He needs to get fitter, Keston Davies needs to get fitter in the partnership alongside him and Ryan Harrington has been great since he came in, and played wherever we've asked him to."

Ruscoe admitted he may still dream of a 'what if' moment from the home Champions League second qualifying round leg against Copenhagen, when just 90 seconds in, Ryan Brobbel spurned a glorious chance to open the scoring.

He added: "Ryan is the sort of player in the Welsh league who'll do step-overs and drag-backs to score, but even our top players can freeze, and miss opportunities.

"We can highlight three or four opportunities that we all had in the Copenhagen game but we didn't hit the target.

"We need to make the keeper work, we didn't and that's why we got punished."