Steve Borthwick admitted he and his Leicester Tigers squad were hurting after the one-point, 18-17 loss to Montpellier in the 2020/21 European Challenge Cup Final.
Speaking pitch side at Twickenham following the defeat, Borthwick said: “Clearly we are disappointed, it hurts.”
“But it hurts because we were so close against very good opposition.”
While disappointed in the result, the Leicester Tigers head coach was hopeful his players came away “proud” of their efforts in the Cup Final and throughout the European campaign.
“There were plenty of good things and the players should be proud of their efforts tonight,” said Borthwick.
“We have used 41 players in this competition; we’ve given five club debuts, the team won in France for the first time in many years, and we’ve been to a first final in four years.
“The Leicester Tigers supporters should be proud of their team’s efforts too.
“If we coach well, we all work hard, have an appetite to learn we can continue to move forward as a club.”
Borthwick was also pleased to see Leicester Tigers fans back in the stands at a live rugby game for the first time in fourteen months.
“For the last year, we have known our supporters are with us but we haven’t been able to see or hear them and it was great for fans to be back at a game tonight,” he said.
“I hope they can see how much the players care for this club.”