Lee Clark was full of praise for his Blackpool side after their 1-0 FA Cup defeat at Aston Villa.
The Seasiders looked set to take their Premier League hosts to a replay only for Christian Benteke to score an 88th-minute winner.
Although this was yet another defeat in a dreadful season for the club, many would say Pool were the better side at Villa Park and manager Clark echoed that view.
The Pool boss said: “We didn’t deserve to lose, without a shadow of a doubt. I was delighted with the lads’ performance. I don’t know what’s happened at this club but we just aren’t getting the rub of the green.
“We at least deserved a replay. My lads put in a terrific performance and I was gutted at the end, for the players and the supporters.
“They enjoyed the stadium, passed the ball really well and have been very unfortunate. We restricted Aston Villa to very few chances and were a threat ourselves.
“My old (Newcastle)team-mate Shay Given was one of the game’s outstanding performers in the Villa goal. He made a couple of brilliant saves. In the end we saw why Benteke is a top player and is courted by some of the big boys around Europe.
“The one player you didn’t want that chance to fall to was him, and he lashed an unstoppable effort past Joe Lewis.”
Pool handed a full debut to youth-team prospect Mark Waddington, who was excellent in the middle of the park.
The teenager battled well before being replaced by fellow youth star Dom Telford in the dying moments.
Clark added: “Mark was magnificent. I think he showed against Premier League players that he has a big future. We’ll need the youngsters and all the players in the squad between now and the end of the season.
“The fans were magnificent. You could tell they appreciated our efforts.”
The short-term contracts of Jamie O’Hara and Darren O’Dea both expired after the game, with no deals yet done to extend them.
Clark said: “In the next few days I’ll sit down with the chairman and try to tie these players down. It’s very important we get this sorted quickly.”