Newcastle boss Alan Pardew hailed his players for their efforts over the 2011-12 Barclays Premier League season after a final-day 3-1 defeat at Everton.
The Magpies went into the game looking to round off a hugely impressive campaign by securing a top-four finish, but after being undone by goals from Steven Pienaar, Nikica Jelavic and Johnny Heitinga they ended up staying fifth, outside the Champions League spots.
As it turned out, with fourth-placed Tottenham and third-placed Arsenal both winning to hang on to their positions, even a victory would not have been enough for the Tyneside outfit and Pardew - who was named the top-flight's manager of the season on Friday - said after his team's loss: "I can't fault the players.
"They have been absolutely magnificent to a man. All my staff, everybody - we've had a real good go at it.
"You look at the quality of teams like Everton and Chelsea (who have finished seventh and sixth respectively) and you say `how have we finished fifth'? It is amazing really.
"We are very pleased with that and we look forward to next year."