Newcastle boss Alan Pardew immediately set his sights on another continental campaign after seeing his hopes of a trip to the Europa League semi-finals dashed at the death.
- Related Content
The Magpies went into injury time in their quarter-final, second leg clash with Benfica at St James' Park leading 1-0 on the night and knowing a second would take them through on the away goals rule.
However, Eduardo Salvio's late equaliser ensured it was the Portuguese league leaders who progressed courtesy of a 4-2 aggregate victory.
Pardew swiftly turned his attention to Sunday's Barclays Premier League showdown with derby rivals Sunderland, knowing victory would effectively end their fears of being dragged into a relegation scrap but already plotting a fresh assault on European qualification next season.
He said: "It's something I said in the dressing room after because we have gained experience from this run.
"We have been out of Europe for a while but we have put ourselves back on the stage in a credible fashion and now we want to get more of it.
"The only way you get more of it now, because we are out of this, is to next year get into Europe again and that will be our main aim next year, for sure.
"We have got a squad of players, I think, who can do that. I think we have shown that recently.
"Very good players are coming back to me. Hatem [Ben Arfa] tonight - if he was fit in the first leg, who knows?
"I felt over the two legs Benfica had the rub of the green, really, because we perhaps could have won that."
Newcastle had returned from Lisbon trailing 3-1 despite taking the lead, but confident they could turn the tie around after twice hitting the post at the Estadio da Luz and gifting Benfica their advantage.
They were on the back foot for much of the opening 45 minutes with keeper Tim Krul and full-back Massadio Haidara, back in action after escaping serious injury in his brush with Wigan striker Callum McManaman, keeping the visitors at bay.
However, the introduction of Ben Arfa and Shola Ameobi as second-half substitutes helped to turn the tide and when Papiss Cisse, who had earlier seen two efforts ruled out for offside, headed them in front with 19 minutes remaining, the game was set for a dramatic conclusion.
But when the decisive moment arrived deep into injury time, it was at the other end of the pitch with Salvio ending Benfica's fears once and for all.
Pardew said: "I am just proud of the football club tonight, the way we conducted ourselves at Benfica, our fans, the way the two games were carried off against great opposition.
"They have got fantastic players, Benfica, three or four in there who are going to be on the European stage for years to come, and we nearly pulled it off.
"We couldn't do what we did in the second half for 90 minutes - we just wouldn't physically be able to do that and then play Sunderland.
"In the second half, we had a real go. We left all our big-hitters on. In fact, I probably finished with the most attacking side I have ever put out here at the end, and I nearly, nearly, nearly got it.
"But I think the energy levels are okay, I think we will be fine for Sunday. I hope so."
Opposite number Jorge Jesus was a satisfied man after seeing his side ride out something of a storm.
He said: "Today was a great day for our team. It showed the quality of our team.
"It's great for us to be in the semi-finals of this competition for the second time in four years."