Fulham boss Martin Jol insisted that he thought his side could win at Chelsea for the first time in a generation.
The Cottagers played a largely second XI but the Dutchman still thought it would be good enough.
But in the end Fulham went out on penalties after a goalless 120 minutes at Stamford Bridge, with Bryan Ruiz missing the crucial kick.
"A couple of months ago, I wouldn't have thought that my second XI could play a game like this against Chelsea," said Jol.
"I had the feeling in the back of my mind that we could beat them here for the first time in 32 years.
"They had a few other players in, we had a new team for the first time - new back four, new midfield, up front.
"We were learning all the time during the game. Normally, you learn before the games, weeks or months before.
"I still had the feeling that we could do well with this group of players and we did."
Missing the decisive penalty was harsh on Ruiz, who was outstanding 10 days after his disastrous debut.
Jol dismissed suggestions the striker could suffer a setback to his confidence as a result.
The Fulham boss, who insisted his side should have had a second spot-kick in normal time when Oriol Romeu appeared to shove over Orlando Sa, said of Ruiz: "He's a confident player.
"The only thing he needs is rhythm, coping with the English style."