Perth Glory coach Alistair Edwards has urged his dispirited players and supporters to keep faith, confident his team can next season shatter their A-League finals curse.
For the second successive year, the Glory have departed empty-handed from the finals after a disputed penalty decision against them.
Following last season's grand final loss to Brisbane Roar, their 2-1 elimination final loss to Melbourne Victory on Friday night after leading most of it was hard to take.
Glory's players were both shattered and incensed post-match - especially at referee Jarred Gillett who was at the centre of both the grand final penalty and Friday night's decision against Steve Pantelidis.
Pantelidis was adjudged to have manhandled Victory attacker Andrew Nabbout, but what looked to be handball by Nabbout just prior to the decision was missed.
To make matters even worse, Pantelidis was sent off for dissent following the 90th minute incident, leaving the Glory down to 10 men for the extra-time that followed.
Edwards was disappointed with the defeat, but was publicly measured in what it means for the club he took over just 10 weeks ago when bottom of the table and miles away from finals.
"They're (fans) hopefully looking forward to moving forward, because they can see the progress that's been made over the last couple of months," Edwards said, saying his players and staff had received many messages of support immediately after the defeat.
"I spoke to every one (of the players) individually after the game and told them I was proud of them.
"Football has so many ups and downs, and this is a downer, but it's not about just one game.
"It's about how they've conducted themselves over the last eight games ... I'm immensely proud of what they've achieved."
Edwards is confident the Glory can build on their past couple of months next season and become an A-League force.
"We came in at bottom of the table, we climbed into the top six, and I think it's plain to see we play some decent football," he said.
"I think everyone went away from the stadium thinking Melbourne Victory were probably lucky to go forward, and everyone knows the work ethic and style of football that Perth Glory's all about.
"Everyone will be looking forward to watching us next year."