Inter coach Walter Mazzarri felt Saturday's 3-0 loss to Real Madrid was a far more even contest than the final scoreline suggested.
The Nerazzurri were undone by goals from Kaka, Cristiano Ronaldo and Casemiro but enjoyed a second-half resurgence in which Mauro Icardi hit the woodwork and forced a goal-line clearance.
Consequently, a defiant Mazzarri was quick to talk up his troops for constantly causing their Spanish counterparts difficulty, arguing that their performance should actually serve to boost their confidence ahead of the new Serie A season.
"Anyone who didn't watch the game might see the 3-0 scoreline and think Real Madrid completely dominated but that's not what happened," the 51-year-old told reporters after the game.
"[Ricky] Alvarez, [Rodrigo] Palacio and Icardi had lots of chances to score and it's incredible that not even one of them went in. If we'd lost 3-2 to Real Madrid, it wouldn't have been so bad.
"Inter fashioned six or seven great chances in front of their keeper. Obviously our finishing could have been better but I'm very happy with the way my team played. The players are starting to get to grips with certain movements and are solid. If you assess the game based on what happened on the pitch and not the result, you cannot but be happy."
Midfielder Zdravko Kuzmanovic reiterated his coach's thoughts, remarking: "It's hard to wax lyrical after losing 3-0 but we had our own chances. We're on the right track. You need to play tests like this against top opposition to help you grow."
Icardi, meanwhile, could not help but wonder about the one that got away.
"It's a shame I hit the bar with that effort," he lamented, "as it was a great ball. We created things and caused problems for them but we weren't able to stick our chances away.
"On a personal level I feel good but I have to work very hard and that's what I'll keep doing."