Andre Villas-Boas felt for his Tottenham players after they failed in their bid to finish in the top four this season.
Despite beating Sunderland 1-0 on Sunday, Spurs were denied a spot in the Champions League by North London rivals Arsenal, who finished a point ahead in fourth thanks to their 1-0 triumph at Newcastle United.
Villas-Boas was happy with how the season went at White Hart Lane but did admit there was some negativity in not grabbing a top-four finish.
"It is a bit disappointing obviously but it did not depend on us and Arsenal did their job to sneak fourth spot," he told Sky Sports.
"I think (the season was) very good.
"To manage so many points (72) and not make it means the level has come up, and it serves a reference for next season.
"Others have pushed on a level and next year we have to improve, so it is a good lesson to take into next season.
"It is a pity we missed it this season, because normally it would be enough to qualify."