Dave Challinor admitted to mixed feelings after AFC Fylde’s promotion hopes were ended by Saturday’s 3-0 play-off final loss to Salford City at Wembley.
Defeat meant Fylde missed out on promotion to the Football League for the first time in the club’s history.
A crowd of more than 8,000 watched on as Mani Dieseruvwe, Carl Piergianni and Ibou Touray sealed Salford’s place in League Two for the 2019/20 season.
Despite the disappointment, Challinor paid tribute to the Coasters fans who turned out and expects to see more when they bid to bounce back in the FA Trophy final against Leyton Orient next Sunday.
He said: “It was going to be a tough one because of the turnaround.
“To have as many supporters as we had is testament to them.
“We know where we are as a club, we do not hide behind that.
“To have as many as we had was terrific, we appreciate it. If we could, we would thank every single one of them.
“We head back to Mill Farm and we saw some of them when we were in a sorrier state.
“They have been brilliant for us, no doubt we will have more next week.
“It has been a disappointing day on the pitch but hopefully they have had a great day off it.”
Fylde’s defending let them down the day with their set-piece work not up to standard.
Challinor believes that, more than anything, will be the biggest disappointment to his players on reflection.
He said: “They (Salford) are a big team, a big threat.
“We knew we would have to do our jobs.
“We did them in the game we played there and things did not drop.
“We did that against Solihull; ultimately that is what cost us.
“From the players in the game there will be some regret because they are things that you need to deal with.”
Fylde’s plans were hindered early on when Luke Burke went off with a hamstring injury 20 minutes into the game and with their opponents already a goal up.
It meant Andy Bond moved into Burke’s place at full-back and Nick Haughton came off the bench.
However, Challinor admitted Burke’s departure did not play that significant a part in how the match developed.
He said: “I don’t think that made a huge difference.
“If I’m honest it probably allowed us to get a more attacking player on the pitch based on how they set up.
“They set up with an extra man in midfield.
“It allowed us to get Nick on early in the game which I thought would be an advantage for us.
“To be fair in possession of the ball we were in control for large parts of the game but we did not do enough with it if I am being very critical.
“We did not get in the areas we needed to hurt them and we conceded poor goals.
“If you do that you cannot win football matches.”