Jimmy Shan says his players gave everything as the Baggies lost their play-off semi final on penalities to Aston Villa.
Albion won the second leg tie 1-0 courtesy of a Craig Dawson header, which levelled the scores and sent the game into extra time.
But Chris Brunt's dismissal in the 80th minute for a second bookable offence swung the game in Villa's favour.
Mason Holgate and Ahmed Hegazi then missed spot kicks for Albion as Villa won the shoot out 4-3.
"It’s always a horrible way to lose a game of football, to go to a shoot-out,” Shan said.
“Credit to the boys, they dug deep going down to 10 men. Our task was to try and stay in the tie and nick a goal if we possibly could.
“I spoke to the boys before the game about application and work-ethic and making sure that we didn’t leave anything on the pitch. We sent out a rally cry for the fans to get behind the team and the atmosphere was incredible.
“Fair play to the boys, they self-managed, their discipline without the ball was outstanding and the three centre-backs were a tower of strength.
“I’m absolutely gutted for Chris (Brunt). Since I’ve been in my caretaker role he’s been a key player. He’s been influential. He’s every bit the captain you’d want at this football club.
“It’s testament to the players and their character, the way they performed. They definitely got an uplift from the fans and my message was an emotional one, from the heart, thanking them for their efforts. They’ve given me everything. I’m just devastated we’ve not seen the journey through.”