Exeter Chiefs scrum-half Will Chudley believes his side can only get better next season after their narrow Aviva Premiership Rugby final defeat to Saracens at Twickenham on Saturday.
The Chiefs trailed 23-6 at the break, but tries from Jack Yeandle and England winger Jack Nowell brought them to within three points of the European champions.
Alex Goode settled the match three minutes later for Saracens to take the score to 28-20, but Chudley is adamant Exeter can come back stronger next season and win the first top-flight title in their 145-year history.
“It’s exciting times for this club,” he said.
“We had a great season and we know from that performance that we can mix it with the top boys.
“In a three-point game it's anybody's and they scored quite quickly, which is a tough one to take.
“They are the dominant team in Europe and we were just short, so we are doing a lot of things right and we have a lot to build on for next season.
“I think it's definitely a building block for high expectations next year. We wish to increase our standards, and go one better.”
Saracens burst out of the blocks at a sun-kissed Twickenham with Owen Farrell kicking three penalties before Duncan Taylor and Chris Wyles crossed for tries.
Exeter came out swinging in the second half, as Yeandle powered over following a rolling maul and Gareth Steenson slotted over two penalties.
Nowell then set up a tense finale with a fine finish in the corner, but Goode won the game for Saracens minutes later following a Marcelo Bosch pass.
“They are very good at putting teams under pressure and they put us under pressure for a large part of the game,” said Chudley.
“We were in our half for a lot of it and were defending for long periods.
“Full credit to them, they are the most dominant team in Europe and you saw why out there. For large parts of the game we put up with it very well.
“We talked about it at the break, going out there and giving a good account of ourselves and getting the deficit down.
“We have a never-say-die attitude. Maybe we went off that but we showed good character.
“I think, if anything, it just leaves a taste in our mouths and we want to achieve more.”
The Singha Premiership Rugby 7s kicks off on 22 July with the Final at the Ricoh Arena on 6 August. For tickets and dates click here