Rob Baxter's side leaked eight tries in a 55-12 loss that has left the Chiefs with plenty to do if they are to claim the all-important play-off place for next season's new-look European Champions Cup.
The Irish international admits in the aftermath that the players had let the supporters down, but hopes that defeat can spur them on in the future.
“I think we were taught a lesson by a team that wanted it more and were the better team on the day," said Whitten. “We weren’t at the races. We let ourselves down, we let Exeter down. There was no pride in the shirt and it was disappointing all round. We’ve got to take it on the chin, hold our hands up and say we were very poor.
“It’s our fault and the only thing we can say is that hopefully it will drive us on in the future. Sometimes you can take the hurt from something like this, but at the same time it’s very disappointing.”
With clashes against Harlequins (home) and Newcastle Falcons (away) remaining, the 26-year-old back says the club are already working hard behind the scenes to ensure that there is no repeat of the Sale display.
“It doesn’t really matter what happens against Quins, so long as that doesn’t happen again ever,” added Whitten. “No professional team should play like we did on Saturday. Nobody pays money to come and see that. We’ve got to show the crowd something against Harlequins.”
Indeed, Whitten's says with just two fixtures left to keep alive their European aspirations, the Chiefs must rediscover their form not only to seal that crucial seventh spot, but at the same time give them a springboard to take into next season.
“I don’t think we’ve played well in the league for a while,” continued the former Ulster star. “I wouldn’t put Worcester [a 38-33 win] down as being a really good performance.
“It has not been a great year for us in the league. Harlequins are in a good bit of form, but we’ve got to show a bit of fight and a bit of bite, that’s what people want to see. So long as you show that you’re usually all right but it wasn’t there on Saturday.”
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