Aston Villa caretaker manager Eric Black does not think his players deserved to go down to a 4-0 defeat at Arsenal to conclude their Premier League season on Sunday.
Olivier Giroud's hat-trick and an own goal from Mark Bunn ensured relegated Villa went down to another heavy defeat, but three of the four goals came over the final 12 minutes.
The club's final total of 17 points is the lowest in their Football League history, but Black was not too downbeat after the match.
"I think we contained them and threatened the goal as well up to about 80 minutes," he said to Sky Sports.
"The players deserve an awful lot of credit. It wasn't a 4-0 game and I feel for them a bit.
"It was hot out there, it was difficult. We had two or three enforced changes before the game and then two or three enforced changes during the game."
Black spoke positively about how the players have reacted to his methods since he took over after the sacking of Remi Garde and hopes Villa's stay in the Championship will be a short one.
"I have been very pleased with the response," he said. "Obviously we would have preferred to have taken more points, but on the whole the players have continued to give everything for the club under extremely difficult circumstances and that was all we could ask for really.
"Obviously there are ongoing talks about a takeover - which I think will be big - and then a new manager will be appointed. He will then assess the group and look to get Aston Villa back to the Premier League.
"It is okay getting somebody in quickly but they need to get the right person in - if that takes a week or two, so be it. I am sure the chairman is trying hard to get this over the line."