Chesterfield manager Paul Cook spoke of ‘small margins’ that separated his side and Derby County, as the Spireites were knocked out of the FA Cup.
Cook’s side saw plenty of the ball in the fourth round tie at the home of their Championship opponents but were undone by a goal each for Darren Bent and Will Hughes.
Chesterfield were backed by close to 6,000 fans at the iPro Stadium in a classic cup clash that swung from end-to-end and Cook was left a proud man by his players.
He said: “We accepted the margins are small, we were playing top class players, a top class manager in a top class stadium and we were good today.
“We took the game, we were brave enough to play two lads up front. All we wanted to do was to say the supporters can go home happy and I feel they will.
“They’ll be disappointed that we haven’t got a goal or something else to cheer about but the endeavour of the team is there, we showed quality in possession.
“Unfortunately, it’s not our day. We’ve got to try our best to get in those play-offs, I’m not saying we’re going to but we’ve got to keep our feet and go again.”
Armand Gnanduillet twice went close for the Spireites, Jay O’Shea flashed a shot just wide of the target and Jimmy Ryan missed the target from a promising position.
There were encouraging signs for Chesterfield in the Derbyshire derby against a side pushing for the automatic promotion places to the Premier League.
“We’re a club that is trying to progress and if we were great at everything, I’d be the greatest manager in the world and the players would be the greatest.
“We’re not that. We’re just an honest, hard-working club that like to entertain. There was a spell in the second half when I thought it was a great cup tie.
“And, as a manager, I think you should always be pleased with that. Unfortunately, the second goal knocked the wind out of us, took the life out of us.
“I’m a young manager, learning the game and we were taught a couple of lessons today and respect that,” added Cook.
The play-off chasing Spireites are soon back in League One action on Tuesday night against Crawley Town - the first of two back-to-back home games.