Southend manager Paul Sturrock heaped praise on his side despite them falling just short of securing automatic promotion after a 2-0 victory over Macclesfield at Roots Hall.
Peter Gilbert and Neil Harris got the goals for the Shrimpers to secure the points, but with Crawley winning 1-0 at Accrington Stanley, the win was only enough for them to leapfrog Torquay into fourth place.
"It was always asking a lot for us to sneak in to the top three but we still have a lot to be proud about," said Sturrock. "We have ended the season with 83 points and I think that would've been enough for promotion in the last three or four years. It is a fantastic tally and it is just unfortunate that we haven't got up.
"We were hoping that Accrington might be able to do us a favour and stop Crawley winning and I am sure they gave it a really good go, but the prize of promotion is still there for us through the play-offs.
"We are going in to them in good form and like I stressed before the game, it is important that we don't go into them feeling disappointed. We have had a good season, we have made real progress and we are not finished yet."
Southend travel to Gresty Road next Saturday to face Crewe in the first leg of the play-off semi-finals, before the Railwaymen head to Roots Hall for the second leg on May 16.
"We are up against Crewe in the play-offs and I am sure that will prove to be very difficult indeed," added Sturrock. "They have been on a fantastic run and I think our games against them will both be crackers."
Glyn Chamberlain took charge of Macclesfield after manager Brian Horton left Moss Rose this week and was pleased with the way his side signed off from the Football League, despite the result meaning the Silkmen had not won in 25 games.
"I told the players that they had a duty to the Football League, the club, the supporters and to themselves as professional footballers and they did me proud," he said. "There was a great atmosphere in the stadium and there was no pressure on us. I just wanted us to show some pride, courage and to perform, and I thought they did.
"If I had a criticism it was that we did not do enough in the last third, but I could say that for the last 46 games."