Northampton were humbled 36-8 by their local rivals on a sobering day at Franklin’s Gardens.
Tigers ran in four tries during a devastating second-half showing that helped them cement second spot.
Saints, meanwhile, had to make do with remaining fourth with three games to go and van Velze, who came on as a second-half substitute, was quick to hail the opposition’s showing.
“It’s disappointing if you’re in the Saints camp, but it shows the quality of the Premiership,” said the former Blue Bulls No.8.
“We were there for 45 minutes and then lost a bit of concentration and, credit to Leicester, they came back, scored some good tries and put us to rest.
“Credit to the Premiership, it’s very high quality rugby, but on behalf of the Saints we’re very disappointed with what happened on Saturday.
“We went there with high hopes, second and fourth playing each other, but it’s rugby, it happens and it’s going to happen in the future. It’s happened to other teams as well, so it’s just one of those games.”
Saints are forced to wait more than two weeks for the chance to banish their east midlands derby demons, as they don’t play again until April 14, at London Welsh.
But van Velze is taking the positives from the fact his team get a weekend off while other sides scrap it out in the Heineken Cup and Amlin Challenge Cup quarter-finals.
“Especially after a performance like that you just want to get back out there and show your quality,” he said.
“It’s a bit frustrating, but it goes both ways. It’s a good chance to get your body ready, we’re moving into the end part of the Premiership and the pressure’s mostly on those games so I think it’s a bit of both: get yourself mentally there and just get your body fit.”