Assistant boss Gavin Strachan said Doncaster Rovers’ players did manager Darren Ferguson proud with their performance against newly-crowned League One champions Wigan Athletic.
Ferguson was absent from the Keepmoat Stadium on Saturday after his father, Sir Alex Ferguson, was taken ill.
Rovers battled gamely against Paul Cook’s side but Will Grigg’s 75th minute goal sealed a 1-0 victory and the league title for the Latics.
“The players put in an excellent effort,” said Strachan.
“I thought they were a credit to the manager in the professionalism that they showed.
“I think they put on a performance that the manager would be very proud of.
“The players implemented the stuff that the manager highlighted.
“We ran a very good team very close. We made them work very hard for their victory. It was a counter attack that did us.
“Congratulations to Wigan [on the title], thoroughly deserved.
“But I hope we earned their respect by putting in a very hardworking performance.”
Rovers, who failed to score in their final four games of the season and ended the campaign without a win from their last six games, finished in 15th place in their first season back in the third tier.
“Where we’ve finished is where we were required to finish,” said Strachan.
“That was the expectation, to consolidate.
“But we feel we’ve left a few points out there on the pitch, with the manner of some of the games we’ve lost or drew.
“Moving forward we don’t feel that we are that far away.
“If we can get the right players in to help the existing squad then we’ll maybe show improvement next season.”
Mathieu Baudry, Cedric Evina, Andy Williams, Craig Alcock, Tyler Walker and Reece Fielding have been released, while Liam Mandeville, Tyler Garratt and Mitchell Lund have been transfer listed.
Long serving captain James Coppinger, who won the club’s Player of the Year and Players’ Player of the Year awards, is in talks with Rovers about a new deal.