Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino refused to criticise his players despite giving up a first leg lead to lose to Chelsea in the Carabao Cup semi-finals.
The tie was turned on its head in the first half as Chelsea reversed a 1-0 deficit to go in 2-1 up, but Tottenham were much improved in the second half and Fernando Llorente's header took the match to penalties.
"I'm disappointed to lose in that way, it can happen," said the Argentine, quoted by Sky Sports News.
"We won at Wembley. They beat us here. Over 180 minutes it was 2-2. I'd prefer to lose on penalties.
"In the second half we played so well and dominated and had chances. Chelsea would have been disappointed at Wembley - that's football.
"We fought and were brave and played really well. Until we conceded the game was under control. It was one of the best games we played until that point."
Tottenham were missing three of their most important players, with Harry Kane and Dele Alli injured and Son Heung-min away at the Asian Cup.
"I can only feel proud given all the circumstances and can only congratulate my players, that's the way we wanted to play and show we can compete at this kind of level," Pochettino added.
"The team was so good. I feel so proud. I'm so happy with the performance and the way we fought. After two amazing games I praise my players."
Tottenham's quest to end their trophy drought continues on Sunday with a visit to Crystal Palace in the FA Cup.