Dean Smith poured praise on his Walsall players for their spirited display in Saturday's 1-0 defeat at Colchester.
The Saddlers boss was furious with the officials for their handling of the game's key moment just after the half-hour mark, insisting skipper Andy Butler's challenge on Michail Antonio - which led to the centre-back's dismissal and Anthony Wordsworth's converted penalty - was outside the area.
But Smith could do nothing but hail his players for the effort they put in having played an hour with only 10 men at the Weston Homes Community Stadium.
"I thought the lads gave everything and in the second half of the game, they (Colchester) were trying to take it into the corners with five or 10 minutes to go," he said.
"We gave it a real go and I can't ask for any more than that and I've said that to the players."