Daniel Farke felt his Norwich City side were hard done by in their 1-0 defeat against AFC Bournemouth on Sunday.
Arnaut Danjuma's first-half strike was the decisive blow in a game where both teams enjoyed their own periods of superiority.
City dominated the second-half but struggled to find cutting edge for an equaliser and Farke wasn't too downhearted in his post-match comments.
Speaking to canaries.co.uk, he said: "First of all, we are disappointed that we lost this game. I also feel really sorry for the lads because we know that we played a side who is the top favourite for promotion.
"This is a club who has spent several years at Premier League level and their starting line-up had more than 1,000 Premier League appearances.
"They are a top-class side and for us, it was a difficult away game. I got the feeling in the first-half was more or less on one level – we were a bit better in our control of the game but with their quality, they had this one situation with Danjuma. It was an unbelievable turn and a good strike from 25 yards.
"It was a bit unlucky because I felt [it should] have been more or less a draw at half-time. We showed a good reaction in the second-half, we changed our base formation and changed a lot in personal terms.
"In the second-half, only one team was playing and just one team was dominating the game. Sadly, we couldn’t find that cutting edge. It was difficult when you play a side defending with a five-man formation and three midfield players in front of them.
"I feel for the lads. They tried everything to get back into the game. In the end, two crucial penalty decisions went against us.
"For that, we are disappointed that we didn’t have the cutting edge but in terms of the performance and mentality, I can’t accuse my lads.
"We will travel back disappointed, of course, but also encouraged. It doesn’t help us in terms of points so the lads will get criticism and that’s normal. But I know exactly what I’ve watched and that’s probably our best game so far this season."
Farke was once again forced to leave a number of players out of his 18-man matchday squad and he delivered a strong message to his whole contingent afterwards.
"I always travel with players who deserve the right to be in the gameday squad during the week," he added. "One thing is for sure, I will never travel with players who are just there with big value or they have done brilliantly in the past or a big name or we have to be grateful that these players play for the club.
"I expect every one of my players that shows me during the week that they feel the desire and responsibility to wear the yellow shirt.
"If I have the feeling that a player is not fully focused or switched on or not full of desire to wear the yellow shirt, I will always travel without them.
"I prefer to play with players who’ll leave their heart out on the pitch. I saw 14 players out there today who played like warriors. I really feel for them because they deserved much more out of the game."