Reading boss Brian McDermott insists his side should be proud of their efforts during their 4-2 defeat at home to Aston Villa in the FA Cup quarter-final.
The Royals had already knocked out Premier League sides Liverpool and Burnley and a third scalp appeared imminent after Shane Long marked his return from suspension with a two-goal blast during the opening 45 minutes.
A first semi-final appearance since 1927 looked on the cards until Villa's superb response but McDermott remained realistic.
"I thought we played really, really well in the first half and we were good value for a 2-0 lead," he said.
"Our play was excellent and I am looking forward to watching it again on TV. We could even have had more goals. But if you are going to lose a game that's the way to do it, especially in the FA Cup."
He added: "We came up against a class side and we needed to keep it tight for the first 10 minutes after the break and we just couldn't do that. It wasn't nerves. We came up against players who could be in the Champions League next year.
"They have pace, power and quality all over the pitch and I think we gave them as tough a game as they have had all season. We knew at half-time that they were capable of producing something and they certainly responded to whatever Martin O'Neill said."
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