Calum McIntyre says his Chester FC under-18s side will be stronger for the experience after their FA Youth Cup journey came to an end at Broxbourne Borough on Wednesday night.
The Blues exited the competition at the third round stage in Hertfordshire, with a goal two minutes before the end of extra-time bringing sealing a 1-0 success for the home side at Goffs Lane.
Chester's young guns had made history in the competition this season, beating Football League sides Fleetwood Town and Bolton Wanderers en route to round three.
McIntyre was full of praise for his charges after the game and challenged them to use the experience to their advantage moving forward.
"I'm not going to pretend that we aren't gutted to be out of the competition," said McIntyre.
"A short analysis of the game would be to say that they were able to dictate the direction of the game and it began to suit them more. I'm not one for excuses. Others can point to a playing surface, a long journey or some of the stuff in the crowd that went on but that's not me. I'll just deal in football. I'm big enough to wish Broxbourne all the very best for the next round.
"My disappointment is solely for my players and the people who have supported us in this competition. These players are incredible young people who will be stronger for this experience. They have made pieces of history and given the youth section here another boost. The support on this little journey has been incredible and there's a genuine thank you for everyone that got behind us.
"On a positive, there are so many of this season's squad that are young enough to be here next year. They will use this experience and be stronger. I'm so proud of my players that my focus now is solely on lifting them up and getting them going again. They are incredible and they're ours and they will come again, that's for sure."
Chester's first-team manager, Jon McCarthy, was also full of praise for what the youngster had achieved.
The Blues boss says that they must now bounce back from the disappointment and focus their attention on improving and eventually challenging for a contract with the first team.
"I'm devastated for them in the manner that it happened, a corner in the last couple of minutes," said McCarthy.
"We had been involved in the work leading up to it in terms of his shape and his system with Calum and I know how much work went in to it.
"They could have gone out early and they would have never have had those experiences that they had against Fleetwood and Bolton which have really helped those players and Calum develop and given us two great nights here.
"But don't feel sorry for yourselves now. There are a lot of lads there that need to recover quickly and start to make even more of an impression with us. Some of them will get another chance in the FA Youth Cup next year, but for some of them that is them done and they need to be looking to earn contracts here."