Derek McInnes was a proud man as Aberdeen pushed Real Sociedad all the way before two late goals saw them defeated 3-2 in the Europa League.
Goals from Peter Pawlett and Mark Reynolds had the Dons in the lead, cancelling out Xabi Prieto's opener.
As the legs tired Shaleum Logan conceded a penalty which Prieto scored then Markel Bergara headed in a winner.
"We went for it at the end but they picked us off. We pushed a good side," McInnes told BBC Radio Scotland.
"We wanted to give ourselves a chance and we tried to split the game into two 45 minutes.
"I said to the players go and win the first half and our play probably merited that.
"We lost a poor goal from a set play, but our response was fantastic and we got the equaliser and finished the first half strong.
"It's a magnificent goal from Reynolds, brilliant play from Niall [McGinn] at the edge of the box.
"At 2-1 for the first time they [Sociedad] had a wobble and I really think they had moments of doubt and that's what we wanted.
"We were a wee bit rusty after that, a bit too enthusiastic if you can be such a thing."
The Dons kick off their Scottish Premiership campaign at home to New Firm rivals Dundee United on Sunday, and McInnes hopes the momentum from a European campaign that also brought victories over Daugava Riga and Groningen can continue into the league.
"I know for spells in that game they were concerned, and I was just delighted watching my team set about that game, playing with such confidence and enthusiasm," said the Dons boss.
"They buzzed off the crowd, the crowd buzzed off them, and that's the way it should be.
"We had the momentum with the crowd. When we got the second the noise was magnificent. It really carried the players on.
"They played the game exactly how I wanted to - brave and on the front foot. We pushed a good team hard.
"The European games have been brilliant for us, we've come out of it with our heads held high. [We've had] two tough draws, but we've got the support with us and it's important we keep them with us and set about this campaign."