Middlesbrough boss Aitor Karanka was proud of his side's performance against Manchester City regardless of their 2-0 defeat at Riverside Stadium.
The hosts were eliminated from this season's competition at the quarter-final stage as David Silva and Sergio Aguero fired City into the last four.
Boro did pose a threat to the City goal during the encounter but for the 14th time in all competitions this campaign they failed to score, a run that includes five of their last six matches.
Despite another frustrating 90 minutes, Karanka was able to find plenty of reasons for optimism as they turn their attentions to staying in the Premier League.
"City showed they are a really good team and the best team won," Karanka told reporters.
"But I am really proud of my players because they have given a massive effort, from the first minute until the end. We were trying to apply high pressure and the effort has been amazing.
"An opponent like Man City can rest players like [John] Stones, [David] Silva, and [Raheem] Sterling on Wednesday. We had one injury after 20 minutes and another at the start of the second half - you have to change everything but you have only one substitution left.
"But for me, the most important thing was what the team has done on the pitch. We needed to recover our confidence, and the best way to do that is to work hard and stay together. I told them that going in this way, we will win games."