Rotherham manager Paul Warne admitted the 1-0 Sky Bet Championship defeat at Wigan was “a difficult pill to swallow”.
The Millers defended resolutely at the DW Stadium, but were eventually undone by a 73rd-minute winner from Wigan substitute James Vaughan.
Coming on the back of their midweek Carabao Cup clash against Premier League side Everton, Warne felt his side did not deserve to go back to South Yorkshire with nothing.
“It’s no excuse, but we don’t get home until late on Wednesday night, whereas Wigan didn’t have a game,” he said.
“As a result I thought we looked a little bit jaded in the first half and it took us a bit of time to get going.
“I’d sort of try and take that first half out of my memory – we were pleased to get them in at 0-0.
“Wigan were comfortably the better team up to that point, without our goalkeeper making any real saves that I can remember.
“At half-time we decided to push our defenders a lot higher up the pitch to force our midfielders to push a lot higher up the pitch and give our strikers some support.
“I’m obviously biased, but I’m also honest and I thought we were the better side in the second half.
“We were pushing for the goal, we had plenty of set-pieces, they had block after block and it just wouldn’t drop for us.
“Against an excellent Wigan side, who played Stoke off the park last week, I’m proud of the effort and how we went toe to toe with them.
“But at the same time I’m very disappointed to come away with nothing.”
Wigan will feel they warranted their winning goal after dominating the game, but the nature of the strike, Vaughan following up to toe home after fellow substitute Callum McManaman’s effort had been saved, did not please Warne.
“It was a very frustrating goal to concede,” added the Millers boss.
“We have certain principles at the club that we try to harp on about, and we’re not happy with the way their winger comes inside and gets his shot off.
“People don’t make mistakes on purpose, but I just reiterated to the lads after the gamer that we need to be the very best we can be.
“I just feel today was a big opportunity missed for us.
“We were in the game definitely and, if we’d have got one goal, we’d have gone on to get two.
“They’re a great bunch of lads who have physically given me everything, but we’ve come away with nothing – and that is a difficult pill to swallow.”
Wigan assistant boss Leam Richardson was just happy to chalk off another three points heading into the international break.
“It was certainly a hard-fought victory,” acknowledged Richardson.
“Rotherham made us work tirelessly for it, as we knew they would do.
“I thought we dominated the game repetitively – in a good way – but the goal just wouldn’t come.
“You’re conscious that Rotherham will ask you questions at some stage, because they’re a good side with a very good management team.
“But our lads dug in and we really earned the win.
“I thought the temperament of the defending, our willingness to want to get in the way of the ball, was pleasing from our point of view.”