Neil Lennon declared himself 'bitterly disappointed but immensely proud' after Celtic's agonising 2-1 defeat at the hands of Barcelona.
It looked like the Hoops would come away with a draw as the score stood at 1-1 heading into stoppage time, but Jordi Alba's late goal secured victory for the home side at Camp Nou.
Barcelona had to come from behind after Georgios Samaras put Celtic in front, and Lennon was delighted with the way his players acquitted themselves against such strong opponents.
He told Sky Sports: "I thought we were compact, we defended very well when we had to and looked a threat. Losing Georgi (Georgios Samaras, who went off injured) was a blow at the time because he was causing Barcelona some problems.
"You know when you come here there are going to be concerted amounts of pressure and we just needed to see it out. There was a bit of luck with the goal.
"While I am bitterly disappointed, for the players more than anybody else, I am immensely proud of them as well.
"We were brave. The players stuck to what we asked them to do, they didn't lose their composure when we knew we would be under pressure."
Lennon added: "They defended brilliantly and at times on the counter-attack we looked dangerous.
"This is the best team in the world, so to come here and play as well as that - it doesn't surprise me because I know the quality and character within the team."
Barca coach Tito Vilanova said: "I think we deserved to win the game, their keeper played well and credit to them but I think we controlled them pretty well.
"It says a lot about Barca, we keep going and if you don't have any attempts on goal you won't win.
"But I believe that Celtic have a chance to qualify, they have two more matches at home so it is possible that they can go through."