Nigel Worthington said he could not have asked any more of his players despite seeing the Euro 2008 dream end away to Spain on Wednesday.
Northern Ireland's Euro 2008 dream ended in Gran Canaria
"What they have shown me over the last three matches has been absolutely magnificent," said the NI manager.
"They have displayed bucketloads of character and effort and to lose 1-0 here is no disgrace."
Worthington said talks on whether he would stay on as manager would take place after Sunday's World Cup draw.
"I have enjoyed working with these players. It is important when you get on well.
"We have worked hard and had fun."