Mark Noble commended a spirited West Ham United display at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday, despite going down 2-0 to newly-crowned Barclays Premier League champions Manchester City.
The Hammers frustrated their fluent hosts for some 39 minutes, before Samir Nasri's fine low strike flew in via the right hand of Adrian and the inside of a post.
Once David Silva had seen his effort, on the stroke of half-time, thud back off the bar, City all but settled matters five minutes after the restart, when skipper Vincent Kompany fired Nasri's corner home from close range.
Reflecting on the season finale, Noble felt the Hammers had done themselves, not forgetting the occasion, justice.
"We didn't want to come here and just roll over, though everyone was expecting us to," he confirmed.
"We knew we were going to have to defend. We watched Villa come here on Wednesday and they defended brilliantly for 60 minutes. But the quality City have is incredible and they always seem to score at home, as they did again on Sunday.
"So we knew what it was going to be like, they do that to every team that comes here. It was a fantastic atmosphere and I thought we defended well for half-an-hour, 40 minutes.
"They scored a goal out of nowhere and then it's their game to lose. It was an uphill battle against a team, at home, that only had to draw to win the league. They've got some of the best players in the world and that's why they've won the league."
While City celebrate a second title in three seasons, West Ham are now looking forward to a third successive campaign in the top flight, no mean feat, says the Hammer of the Year.
He continued: "It has been tough but we've finished 13th now and we were second from bottom in December. This is the best league in the world and it is credit to the lads and to everyone involved that we've got ourselves out of that position.
"It was a tight league and a tough league this season and a couple of results pushed you right up the table. We managed to win four in February and then against Hull City and Sunderland, which confirmed our safety. To beat Spurs in the last home game of the season finished it off nicely.
"It was looking a bit worrying for a while, but now it's safe and we're looking forward to next season."
Finally, Noble, as he typically does, reserved a special mention for the Hammers' travelling army, who made their presence felt at a jubilant Etihad Stadium.
"We come to expect that from our fans, we don't expect anything else," he explained. "They come away and can be heard at every away game, no matter where you are. That's a credit to them and we can't thank them enough."