Uwe Rosler praised Wigan Athletic for pushing Arsenal all the way before bowing out of the FA Cup on penalties.
The Latics won the competition last season and looked set to reach the final for a second year in succession when Jordi Gomez broke the deadlock in the 63rd minute.
However, Per Mertesacker drew Arsenal level and, after the tie finished 1-1, Wigan lost out on penalties as Gary Caldwell and Jack Collison had spot-kicks saved.
"We were only eight minutes away from winning, but we had to make some substitutions early and unfortunately we could not hold out," said Rosler.
"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 don't need to practise penalties'.
"We want to be back here in May (for the play-offs), when we are back in May, then we will practise penalties."
The Wigan boss had no issues with his side's attitude in the shoot-out.
"There is no criticism whatsoever on Gary, 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."