COACH Jitka Klimkova says she does not want to walk out on Canberra after it became the first championship-winning team to miss the W-League finals in the following season.
Having beaten the Brisbane Roar in last year's grand final to take the title undefeated, Saturday's loss to minor premier Brisbane showed how far United has fallen.
Having also missed out on the Australian Matildas coaching job last month, Klimkova immediately indicated her desire to return to Canberra next season.
''It's pretty hard to decide when you are a little bit emotional, but of course I'm thinking what I have to do to come back, that's my first thinking, but I can't promise anything,'' she said after the game.
''But I will work hard on this and I really don't want to finish our co-operation with Canberra United this way.
''I can't say 100 per cent, but I will do everything to be back.''
With Sydney FC beating Western Sydney Wanderers 3-2 earlier in the day, United went into the game knowing only a win would lift it into the top four and keep alive its dream of back-to-back titles.
But United was completely outclassed by the Roar and was flattered by the scoreline as Tameka Butt scored a hat-trick.
Canberra goalkeeper Mackenzie Arnold missed a Katrina Gorry cross and it went straight into the net to open the scoring after just 11 minutes.
Butt then added a brace before half-time, one a penalty after being brought down by Nicole Sykes.
United had a glimmer of hope just before half-time when American import Kristen Mewis headed home a corner to make it 3-1.
But the Roar later came out and dominated. It controlled the ball for what seemed all of the second half and while Arnold might have been at fault for Brisbane's first goal, it was only her heroics that prevented the Roar from reaching double figures.
Emily Gielnik got her name on the scoresheet after winning a one-on-one with Arnold. Then Butt, who seemingly had spent the whole game unmarked at the back post, completed her hat-trick.
''They played much better possession [than us],'' Klimkova said.
''They kept the ball on the ground, they switched the play, they used open spaces, they had much better movement than us, they were dangerous, played the ball between our defenders and then were pretty effective with their finishing … they were dominating.''
While the last-round loss results in United missing the finals, Klimkova put the defeat down to results earlier in the season.
She pointed to a 1-1 draw away to the Wanderers in November, as well as last-minute losses to Sydney FC and Melbourne Victory, as the real reasons the summer Green Machine did not make the top four.
But Klimkova said her young squad, which had lost Matildas Sally Shipard and Lydia Williams to injury for most of the season, had grown a lot throughout the campaign - which was why she wanted to return.
She wants to take her charges even further.
Roar's win makes it the W-League premier. It will play Sydney in the semi-finals, while Melbourne will play Perth Glory.
BRISBANE ROAR 5 (Katrina Gorry 11, Tameka Butt 38 (pen), 41, 71, Emily Gielnik 66) bt CANBERRA UNITED 1 (Kristen Mewis 45+4).