Academica boss Pedro Emanuel feels his team can be proud of their efforts in the Europa League this term even though they are heading into their final Group B game knowing they cannot progress any further in the tournament.
Ahead of their clash with Hapoel Tel Aviv in Israel, the Portuguese side - competing in their first European campaign since 1971-72 - are on five points and guaranteed to finish third in the pool.
Emanuel believes what his players have achieved in their five group games so far, which includes a 2-0 victory over Primera Division high-flyers Atletico Madrid, has exceeded expectation and deserves commendation.
``Not even the greatest of optimists would have expected to see Academica scoring in every game, making six goals and five points. Let us be proud,'' the coach said.
Emanuel is anticipating a tough encounter tomorrow but has stressed that Academica are firmly focused on bowing out of Europe for the season with a win.
``Hapoel have quality. They are (joint) top in the Israeli league and we expect an environment of great passion,'' he said.
``But we want to close with a victory.''
Those sentiments have been echoed by Academica goalkeeper Romuald Peiser.
Peiser said: ``We expect a tough match and a difficult environment.
``Sometimes it is the details that make the difference and we have to be mindful of that.
``We have made a good run, taking five points and giving a good picture of Academica.
``We want to close the group well, achieving eight points. We made this trip thinking about victory.''
Hapoel have just one point and are bottom of Group B, which is led by Atletico on 12 points, with Viktoria Plzen second on 10.