Harry Redknapp was left to lament a 'disastrous' first half after a Gareth Bale-inspired comeback ensured we walked out of the San Siro with our heads held high after a 4-3 defeat against Inter Milan in the Champions League on Wednesday night.
The manager summed up that first 45 minutes as 'everything that could go wrong, did go wrong' as Inter took a 4-0 lead and we went down to 10 men.
We were 1-0 down inside two minutes but it quickly went from bad to worse against the Champions League holders.
Heurelho Gomes was sent off for bringing down Jonathan Biabiany in the box and Samuel Eto'o doubled Inter's lead from the penalty spot.
We also lost the attacking guile of Luka Modric, who had to be sacrificed to allow Carlo Cudicini to take over in goal.
A native of Milan and former AC keeper, Carlo could do little as Dejan Stankovic struck the third from 20 yards five minutes later and Eto'o made it 4-0 at half-time.
The 10 men certainly looked fired up at the start of the second half and Bale opened his account in stunning style, a 70-yard dash past Maicon and Javier Zanetti before firing low across Julio Cesar into the far corner.
That looked to be our consolation as the game entered the final few minutes but Bale struck again, a carbon-copy of his first, beating Zanetti and lashing into the same corner for 4-2 in th 90th minute.
Incredibly, the Welsh star completed his hat-trick a minute later as he made it a treble of drives into that bottom corner, this time from Aaron Lennon's assist.
The only shame was that there was no time left in added time to mount another serious attack.
"It just started so badly for us," reflected Harry at the San Siro.
"To concede a goal in the first minute and then to have a sending off so soon after that, suddenly we were 2-0 down and it was difficult.
"To go in 4-0 down at half-time with 10 men at Inter Milan, we were bang in trouble.
"To be honest, at that point, we could have been looking at any scoreline.
"It was a massive disappointment to come in like that at half-time.
"We didn't start as I wanted us to start with the goal, the penalty, the sending off - it was a disastrous start.
"I said to the players at half-time that all we had to play for was our pride and that we had to make sure we didn't come off feeling embarrassed with a crazy scoreline.
"We stayed positive, kept the two wide players on and Gareth Bale has ended up with an amazing hat trick. He ran them ragged.
"If that (third) goal comes five minutes earlier who knows what could have happened. I had visions of Arsenal when I first arrived at the club (the 4-4 draw at the Emirates).
"I did feel we had a better second half, we contiuned to work them and we were always a threat when we got the ball wide.
"I thought we were quite bold because we could have taken off one of the wingers and left the midfield to plough on but in the end we tried to have a go and we got some reward.
"Obviously, it was no reward in terms of points but it was reward in terms of a bit of pride."