Olympique Lyonnais winger Michel Bastos is setting his sights on returning to the UEFA Champions League next year after describing this season's run to the last four as "beautiful".
Lyon reached the semi-finals for the first time thanks to a series of memorable performances, including wins against Liverpool FC, ACF Fiorentina, Real Madrid CF and FC Girondins de Bordeaux. FC Bayern München proved one hurdle too many, however, with Claude Puel's men suffering a 3-0 loss at home to follow last week's 1-0 reverse in Munich.
Despite the comprehensive nature of Tuesday's loss, Bastos was looking on the bright side. "We had the opportunity to do something special tonight but unfortunately we couldn't manage it," the Brazilian international told UEFA.com.
"I'm still proud of our campaign," he continued. "This club had never reached the semis. Looking back, the campaign has been beautiful. Now we have to look forward and make sure we're in the competition again next season."
OL are currently fifth in Ligue 1 but just two points off third with a game in hand. With three French clubs earning the right to compete next term, Bastos is confident of having another chance to fight for UEFA Champions League glory. "There are five games left," he said. "We have to pick ourselves up very quickly now and focus on finishing the season well. We really want to return next year."
The 26-year-old remained philosophical about the Bayern loss, saying: "We knew it would be difficult because of what happened in the first leg. We had to come out and go for the win tonight but we got exposed."
OL's backline was breached as early as the 26th minute, Ivica Olić doubling Bayern's aggregate advantage by finishing off a superb move. Needing three goals to reach the 22 May showpiece, Les Gones folded in the second period with Cris getting sent off before Olić struck twice more for an exceptional hat-trick.
Jean-Alain Boumsong admitted the French club had been outclassed by Louis van Gaal's well-drilled team. "We received a lesson," the France defender told UEFA.com. "Bayern were stronger than us in both matches. They already had an important advantage before coming here and in the end we had too much ground to make up."
The former AJ Auxerre stopper believes the Bundesliga leaders' European experience proved decisive. "Their tactics were brilliant in both games," Boumsong explained. "That is something which comes with experience. We are still learning."
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