Mansfield Town manager Steve Evans believes the best team exited the Carabao Cup this evening as his side were defeated 1-0 by League One Rochdale.
Rochdale midfielder Callum Camps' superb first half strike was the only difference between the two sides at One Call Stadium, while Stags' forward Danny Rose missed a late penalty to take the game to extra-time.
And the gaffer is in no doubt that his side deserved to progress to the second round of the competition.
"We should have won the cup tie; we've dominated them," insisted the Stags' chief.
"The best team on the night has gone out, but that's cup tie football. We deserve to be in the next round; it was one-way domination in the second half.
"In the first half, I don't think there's a lot in it – they have a special goal, you have to recognise that the lad's (Callum Camps) a talented boy and he puts it in the top bag. But, other than that and a couple of half-chances, there's nothing in the game.
"We deserve to be in the next round; it was one-way domination in the second half."
"There was nothing in the cup tie and in the second half there was only us in the cup tie, but we've lost out to a great goal and a bad penalty miss.
"It's hard to take and we'll go home disappointed, as we should, but we'll come back again on the training ground."
Winger and skipper for the night Paul Anderson was denied his first goal for the club when his spectacular volley crashed back off the inside of the post in the first half and the Stags continued to press forward after the interval, with debutant Jimmy Spencer and young forward Omari Sterling-James proving to be constant threats to the Rochdale back line.
"I thought Spencer was fantastic and he only came off because he was really tired; he put so much into the game," continued Evans.
"I think his link up play and hold up play was good, and those two lads at the back won't come up against a much tougher opponent.
"The players must take enormous credit for the performance, but we go out of the cup and that's the sad part.
"We carved them open time-after-time with some good passages of play and I think the lads have done really well. I think [Paul] Digby had fantastic energy going from box-to-box, and you know what you're going to get with [Will] Atkinson and Anderson.
"The substitutes made a real impact for us and of course Alfie [Potter] comes on and within five minutes we've got a penalty."
Attention now returns to league matters and the visit of Forest Green Rovers on Saturday and the boss believes it's the perfect opportunity to bounce back from tonight's defeat.
"We should have gone away from home in the league and got more than a point on Saturday and we should be through in the cup, but we're not.
"We need to go into the Forest Green game with confidence and try and get a result.
"There'll be some questions [regarding team selection], but we'll pick it honestly like we did tonight – we picked a team to win the cup tie."
Supporters can login to iFollow Stags to view the manager's full post-match interview.