Wigan manager Uwe Rosler felt his team could not have given any more in the FA Cup semi-final defeat to Arsenal.
After taking the lead through a Jordi Gomez penalty, Wigan were pegged back by Arsenal but held on to take the game to extra-time and penalties.
They lost 4-2 on spot kicks in Wigan's first FA Cup defeat since January 2012.
Rosler said: "We faced Arsenal - one of the top teams in the country - and did very well.
"We were only eight minutes away from winning, but we had to make some substitutions early and unfortunately we could not hold out.
"We forced Arsenal to play some long balls in the second half, which is unusual for the way they play, and we still looked to attack them when we could.
"I am absolutely proud of how they performed and what they put in.
"When you can see the finish line, but just not get over and then bounce back in extra-time, that shows mental strength and character.
"When you are then going into penalties, there is always a bit of a lottery."
Rosler added: "I got asked 'have you practised penalties?' I said, 'no, I am German, you know we dont need to practice penalties'.
"We want to be back here in May (for the play-offs), when we are back in May, then we will practice penalties."
The Wigan boss had no issues with his side's attitude in the shoot-out.
"There is no criticism whatsoever on Gary (Caldwell), I felt we selected the guys who were freshest and had confidence.
"Gary is a leader, a man and did himself justice after having not played for so many months.
"He was ready, I thought he would score. Unfortunately he didn't. That is life, but you have to get on with it.
"Gary will recover, we will recover and move on.
"You need a bit of luck and we did not have it on our side today."
Wigan, relegated from the top flight under former boss Roberto Martinez despite their FA Cup final success, remain very much in the hunt for promotion.
Rosler said: "I guess a lot of people will say 'now they will never recover mentally from this', but we will just use this now - last season at Brentford, we lost on automatic promotion in the 95th minute (of the final day) and the team recovered to go to the Wembley final.
"It is exactly that mental strength, that willpower and desire to get through the play-offs, that is definitely our target, that is what we are breathing, eating and sleeping, and I think that will happen."