Saints got off to a poor start, losing possession at the opening kick off and conceding a try to Chris Whitehead with just three minutes on the clock.
But they fought back well to dominate much of the first quarter. However, a Glenn Dickson penalty aside, they did not get the points their territory and possession demanded.
A series of five-metre scrums ended with a mistimed hook and a loss against the head, and away from the set piece Exeter's defence withstood the pressure superbly, something the Chiefs continued in the second half.
Samu Manoa did eventually score with 10 minutes left, but by then Dean Mumm had extended Exeter's lead and it was too little, too late for the travelling Saints.
"It was very disappointing and the boys are gutted by the result," Fotualiu'i told SaintsTV. "We spoke about how tough it was going to be to come here. We really wanted the win but the result didn't go our way. You've got to be accurate in finals footy, and we weren't accurate enough."
Given the Saints' previous record during the Six Nations, at the end of January many supporters would have taken a place in the LV= Cup final and seven wins from the eight matches played during the international window.
And Fotuali'i says that the experience gained over the LV= Cup campaign, and the last two months as a whole, will stand the squad in good stead going forward.
"Overall we've done well enough," he said. "A lot of young guys got us into this position to try and win the trophy. It gives the young fellas the chance to come in, play and get some experience with the older guys, and that can only be good for the squad."
Disappointment will be the overriding emotion heading back up the M5. But with a quarter of the Aviva Premiership season still to come, a top place in the league table to consolidate, and an Amlin Challenge Cup quarter final as well, Fotuali'i added that it is imperative that the squad and club put this game behind them and move on quickly, starting with next Saturday's trip to Sale.
"You've got to be upbeat," the Samoan said. "As disappointing as it is you can't dwell on it too much, and it's something we have to learn from and move forward from, especially going into the next two weeks."