Neil Aspin admitted Wrexham deserved to win after his FC Halifax Town side were knocked out of the FA Trophy with a 1-0 defeat at the Shay.
A below-par Halifax side produced a disappointing display, with Wrexham’s winner coming through captain Neil Ashton in the first-half.
The Town boss conceded his side didn’t do enough to earn their place in the last four of the competition, and said he was bitterly disappointed to have gone out.
“The minimum I expect is that any team I put out works really hard and I felt in the first-half they didn’t work as hard as they could,” he said.
“There is going to be a lack of quality at times but there’s no excuse for not working hard.
“I expected us to put Wrexham under more pressure than we did in the first-half. But they were comfortable.
“People will be disappointed but there’s no-one more disappointed than me.
“I desperately wanted to do well in this competition
“We’ve done well so far and you get to a stage where you’re so near if you’d got a result.
“But I have to give Wrexham credit. They’ve come off a tough game at Gateshead, they did well in the first-half, deserved to be in-front, and they’ve defended well.
“You can’t just take the negatives from our point of view. Wrexham did well and they deserved to win.”
Aspin defended his team selection, which saw three changes from the win over Dartford on Saturday, with Jack Muldoon and David Mellor making their debuts.
Aspin said: “I can hear people giving me stick on the way out of the ground and having a go at me, saying it’s my fault we’ve lost the game because we made changes.
“’But I wanted to make changes because after having a game on Saturday, I felt it would give us some fresh impetus.
“Obviously it didn’t work but I still stand-by making the changes because I felt we’ve got to use the players in the squad.
“They need some games and we trained (on Monday) and everybody looked fine so I felt they could add to the team but unfortunately our performance level in the first-half was just very poor.
“As a manager you can always take criticism and I’m big enough to take that.
“In hindsight you can look back but I wanted to make the changes and we’re going to have to make changes because the same players can’t keep playing.
“It was a very heavy pitch on Saturday and I think that’s possibly the reason Steve Williams has pulled his hamstring late on, because he got through a lot of work.
“People are going to have to realise there are going to be changes and I’d expect the players who come in to do better.
“They’ve played at a good level of football and it shows no matter what level you’ve played at this level is a difficult league against good teams.
“It’s hard to just come in and make a difference so they need to up their games as well.”
Aspin said his side were lucky to only be 1-0 down at the interval and praised the performance of the visitors.
“You can’t just blame one thing. As a team from back to front we weren’t effective,” said the Town boss.
“Up front we offered little threat. We found it difficult to control the midfield like we did on Saturday.
“At the back they put us under pressure, they worked hard.
“Bishop up-front is experienced, I thought he led the line well.
“That’s not criticising our centre-halves, who I thought did all right.
“But they pushed us back, they kept the ball better in the first-half, got into some good positions.
“I’ve no complaints with the first-half, they deserved to be in front and we were probably fortunate we were only one goal behind,
“We did do better in the second-half but we haven’t tested the keeper enough.
“We got into some decent areas but our final ball was poor. There were too many crosses going into the keeper’s hands.
“You’d expect us to have a few bits and pieces from the amount of balls we got into the box, but we never really created anything clear cut.”
Aspin was satisfied to have reached the last eight of the competition, but said Town would need to improve for their league clash with Dover at the weekend.
“The players have done well. They’ve got to a quarter-final,” he added.
“It’s not like we’re going out in the first round or to clubs that are in a lower league.
“We’ve gone out to Bradford City in the FA Cup and now Wrexham in the Trophy.
“Its just disappointing both games were at home. We’ve probably played better in the cup competitions away from home.
“But we have to pick ourselves up. We’re going into a tough game against Dover on Saturday.
“We’ve got to be better and I have to try and make sure we are on Saturday.”