Ryan Giggs has told his devastated Manchester United team-mates not to forget it has been a season to remember.
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Instead of a victory parade around Manchester, United flew home to the inevitable inquest about what went wrong in Rome last night after their 2-0 Champions League defeat to Barcelona.
To a man, the Red Devils have held up their hands to admit Barca were the better side at the Stadio Olimpico, with a clear edge in all areas.
It is not the way Giggs intended to begin his summer holidays and presents a marked contrast to the jubilation they experienced 12 months ago after beating Chelsea in a penalty shoot-out.
But, while the veteran Welshman is as crushed as anyone by the chronic failure to perform, he insists there are moments to cherish from the campaign as well.
"Great teams bounce back after big disappointments," he said.
"It has been a fantastic season and we must not forget that. We have achieved so much.
"All we have done is fall just short at the final hurdle in the Champions League.
"We are still a great team and we have great players in that dressing room.
"Next year we will come back stronger and look forward to the challenge."
And the challenge is not an insignificant one.
Whereas this season history beckoned in Europe with the ultimately doomed attempt to become the first team to retain the Champions League since its inception in 1992, next year it will be at home.
Having drawn level with Liverpool on 18 league titles this term, Giggs knows one more - which would be his 12th personally - would not only allow the Old Trafford outfit to overtake their north-west rivals, it would also see them become the first side in English football to win the championship four years in a row.
"To win three Premier League titles on the trot is an unbelievable thing to do," said Giggs. "Now we must look to make it four."
Looking on the bright side, last night's defeat ensures United will not suffer the kind of fixture congestion that almost proved their undoing this term, with Barcelona now the ones committed to facing Shakhtar Donetsk in the European Super Cup and to represent UEFA at the Club World Cup in Abu Dhabi.
Of far more importance to Ferguson is putting plans in place for next season.
The United boss has already stated there will not be much movement this summer, with most of the replacements already in place for Giggs, Paul Scholes, Gary Neville and Edwin van der Sar, who by this time next year will already have, or be very close to, calling it a day.
Owen Hargreaves' return is eagerly-awaited after his tendinitis trouble but clearly, beyond even that significant event, are the futures of Carlos Tevez and Cristiano Ronaldo.
The body language of Ronaldo last night did not suggest a man at ease with the world, although looks can be somewhat deceptive with the Portugal superstar, who has hinted at a desire to remain at Old Trafford, at least for another year.
Former Real Madrid president Ramon Calderon has also claimed a deal has been done for Ronaldo to move, which promises to make for some intriguing tittle-tattle over the next few weeks.
A more clear cut situation, if not a prospective outcome, is that of Tevez, whose lease arrangement has now run it course, leaving United chief executive David Gill to decide whether it is worth pursuing a permanent transfer.
If the answer is no, Ferguson might shuffle his squad around, possibly bringing in Franck Ribery in addition to Ronaldo, whose future surely lies as an out-and-out forward.
Ferguson's players however might spend a little more time reflecting on the past rather than pondering the future.
"You work so hard to get to a Champions League final," reflected Giggs.
"After winning it last year we wanted to win it again. I guess this result proves why it has not been done before."