Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas was quick to laud his players' heroic Europa League efforts after their quarter-final exit at the hands of Basle.
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Penalties proved the difference in Switzerland after the match finished 2-2 on the night and 4-4 on aggregate, with Spurs losing the shootout 4-1 after Tom Huddlestone and Emmanuel Adebayor failed from the spot.
It ends what has been a rollercoaster European campaign for Villas-Boas' side which has seen red cards, an off-the-pitch stabbing, racist chanting and two last-gasp wins.
The Portuguese was left understandably frustrated with his side's exit from the competition he won with Porto but proud of the way his side equipped themselves.
"Obviously we are extremely disappointed," Villas-Boas said. "We did ever so well to cancel the two goals from White Hart Lane.
"I think we played a better game this time round. Both teams were very attacking so compliments to both, with eight goals in two ties.
"In penalties anything can happen and it wasn't our day - it's part of the game.
"I think within all of this disappointment we are extremely happy to set a great standard and a great example this season for English football for the way we approach this competition.
"It's not up to me to brag about it, but I would like to compliment the players because changing the mentality towards the competition from one season to another is extremely difficult. They have done it like heroes, played like heroes.
"It was never an excuse for the way we played in the Premier League and I think that example has stuck so much that it has changed the way some other English clubs approached the competition and spoke about the competition.
"I am proud of the players because, for me, they are like heroes for the way they've done it.
"We're extremely disappointed to go out to Basle but at the same it is a great honour to have managed them in the competition."
It was a fittingly dramatic end to what has been a tumultuous tournament for Spurs, who took the lead at St Jakob-Park through Clint Dempsey.
Basle hit back through Mohamed Salah and Aleksandr Dragovic, only for Dempsey to take the game to extra time with his second of the night.
Spurs did well considering they had to do without Jan Vertonghen after his sending-off late in regulation time, with penalties eventually proving their undoing.
"Penalties are always very, very difficult," Villas-Boas added. "We had assigned the strongest penalty-takers and we practiced the penalties.
"The nature of penalties is very, very difficult and you can never recreate the same stress and emotion in training.
"They had their preferred slots where to put the ball but it changes dramatically in live situations.
"We're disappointed obviously as we thought we could have done better at home and we recognise our mistakes.
"But compliments to Basle because they are a very, very good side - very, very attacking and brave.
"We compliment them for what they have done for reaching the semi-finals for the first time in their history, but we're disappointed to go out of a competition in which we had such great ambitions."
Chelsea, Fenerbahce, Benfica and Basle make up the four semi-finalists, with the latter's manager, Murat Yakin, excited by the prospect of another upset.
"We are of course all happy," the former Switzerland international said. "You can see the great atmosphere and the players' celebrations. It is just great.
"It was the fruits of our hard work. The first leg was decisive, I would say.
"It is a great competition. We showed that we wanted to do well in this competition and stay in it. The match was not like I thought it would be, but at the end we made it through and that is the most important thing."