Hartlepool caretaker-manager Martin Scott put a philosophical face on his team's League One play-off final loss to Sheffield Wednesday in extra-time.
"It was exiting," he said. "We would have loved to have won but I am so proud of the players.
"It just wasn't our day. Things went against us as three players came off injured and we had a player sent off.
"Sometimes it goes like that but I cannot fault the players for how they have worked for me."
He added: "I'm disappointed but you have to look at the bigger picture. This club is going forward. Yes, it's one step at a time but we are a force to be reckoned with now.
"If we can keep these players together we will have a good time next season."