Paul Lambert felt a 3-1 defeat away at Chelsea was harsh on his Norwich side, after seeing them give as good as they got.
The Canaries held their own for long periods at Stamford Bridge on Saturday and were only undone by two late goals, after they had been reduced to ten men.
Jose Bosingwa fired Chelsea in front early on, but Grant Holt levelled just after the hour mark to give the visitors hope.
Their dreams of picking up a point at the home of a true Premier League heavyweight were shattered 10 minutes from time when keeper John Ruddy was sent off for felling Ramires in the box.
Frank Lampard converted from the spot and Juan Marta added a third for the Blues in stoppage-time, but Lambert was able to take plenty of positives from a fixture that few sides will relish this season.
He told Sky Sports: "I am as proud as anything of them. I thought it was a huge performance from us and I think we deserved more than what we got.
"We came here and gave as good as we got against a team that could potentially win the Premiership.
"I just think the longer the game went on the belief was there and I thought we played some really good stuff at times. We had a few chances to equalise before we did.
"I thought it was a big performance from us but, at the end of the day, we have been beaten. But performance wise we were okay."
Lambert admitted afterwards that Mike Jones' penalty call turned the tie against Norwich, and he believes the officials got the biggest decision of the game wrong.
He added: "I think that it is the turning point in the game.
"I have seen it in on the monitor and I think he is going to ground anyway, even before he gets a nick on the ball. I think he has over-hit it and John's momentum has took him down.
"As I said before, you aren't going to get decisions here."