Roma coach Claudio Ranieri insists he is proud of his side even though they missed out on the Serie A title to Inter on Sunday.
The Giallorossi have thrived under Ranieri after he replaced Luciano Spalletti as coach after just two games, going on a 23-match unbeaten run to reach the summit last month for the first time since 2007.
They were on course for their first league title since 2001 when they beat city rivals Lazio 2-1 to leapfrog Inter into the top spot in the table, but their stay at first place was fleeting as Ranieri's men were beaten 2-1 by Sampdoria last month and Inter went back ahead.
The neck-and-neck race for the Scudetto was decided on Sunday when Inter edged Siena 1-0 to finish two points clear, despite Roma's 2-0 triumph at Chievo.
But Ranieri has nothing but praise for his side's performance this season, and hailed them for taking the title race to the bitter end.
"I must thank all these guys who have done a fantastic thing," Ranieri told Sky Sport.
"They have been the real protagonists of the league. When I arrived they were at the bottom of the standings.
"I have to compliment my players," he added.
"I remembered the pressure and the fears in my first few days at Roma.
"But my players have brought this Serie A to life and people have watched us with sympathy.
"We have lost points along the way but we have won many games coming from behind. My players have been exceptional."
The Roma coach extended his congratulations to Inter but stopped short of praising rival coach Jose Mourinho, with whom he has engaged in slanging matches this season.
"My compliments from the bottom of my heart to (Inter President Massimo) Moratti," said Ranieri. "He has created a great team and I wish Inter the best of luck in Europe.
"I hope they bring the Champions League trophy to Italy next weekend.
"Inter have won the title with loyalty and we have nothing to recriminate."
Source: Sky Sports