Darren Ferguson praised the effort of his Doncaster Rovers side despite their exit from the Checkatrade Trophy at Rochdale.
Rovers were knocked out on penalties after Tommy Rowe missed the decisive spot kick at Spotland.
Ferguson was pleased with his side’s endeavour after fighting back from behind to send the tie to penalties.
“I’m really disappointed to go out,” he said.
“It’s the same as last season losing on penalties at this stage and I’m disappointed.
“But I can’t fault the players’ application and the effort they put into the performance. We made a great start and could have scored after 30 seconds and got another cleared off the line.
“On a horrible pitch we did a lot of good things.
“It was a real battle at times but I can’t fault the lads for the effort they put into the game.”
Rovers found themselves a goal down after Rochdale were awarded a penalty when Harry Toffolo was adjudged to have fouled Andrew Cannon.
While Ferguson was far from pleased with referee Darren Handley’s decision he was delighted with the response from Rovers.
He said: “It’s a soft penalty but that referee never gave us anything. It was a poor decision. But we regrouped and we just had to find a way of making more chances.
“We changed the formation and Liam Mandeville and Alfie Beestin linked up brilliantly and it was a really good goal.
“It’s a bit of a lottery then. Rowey has taken one with probably his first touch. I thought someone else maybe should have stepped up but I let the players get on with it.”
Ferguson insisted he had no concerns over midfielder Ben Whiteman, who was forced off in stoppage time.