Adrian Lam says Wigan were "really close to being really, really good" after they crashed out of the Challenge Cup.
A Stefan Ratchford penalty ultimately proved decisive in edging a 26-24 Round Six thriller at Warrington.
Lam cut an emotional figure as he addressed the media minutes afterwards, saying he felt his side did enough to secure a quarter-final spot.
But he was proud of his players' character and declared this performance as showing that Wigan will be a force in Super League.
He said: "I'm a little bit devastated, I thought we played well enough to win the game.
"I wanted to be involved in the Challenge Cup because I love the competition. It's not to be.
"But the exciting part is we're getting to where we need to be.
"We're a different team to six weeks ago and in six weeks we'll be different again. So here we come. Here we go."
Wigan battled back from 24-14 down in the second-half to level the scores before Ratchford poked the hosts in front.
"We missed the kick for touch, we were flying and I don't want to point the finger but we didn't get the ball back for 13 minutes, they got the two points during that period, so a couple of little individual errors were pressure-releases," he said. "We were really close to being really, really good.
"There were some soft tries - when we score 24 points we should be winning the game.
"But they were very courageous. I can't question the character."