Grant McCann said Rovers set the standard for the rest of the season with the performance at high-flying Peterborough United in the Emirates FA Cup.
Rovers gave as good as they got at the Weston Homes Stadium before seeing their FA Cup campaign ended with a 2-1 defeat.
Mo Faal pulled a goal back for Rovers with 15 minutes to go, after wrongly seeing another effort ruled out for offside earlier in the half.
“For us, what pleased me, is that we went toe to toe with one of the best teams in League One, if not the best,” he said. “I said to the lads in the changing room that if they continue to play like that in our league then we’ll be fine and we’ll continue to move up the league.
“That’s the standard. Ultimately we’ve lost, which nobody wants. But I feel we’ve been hard done by as well. If the goal had stood - and watching it back Mo Faal was onside when Joe Ironside headed it - I think we would have equalised because it’d have given us 30 minutes to get it and with the way we were playing, we’d have had that chance. You need the rub of the green away from home and we don’t seem to get it.
“I thought it was a good performance from us. Peterborough are a good team and are flying high in the league above us but I think we more than matched them.
“Apart from the first ten minutes when we showed them way too much respect, which wasn’t the plan. We sat off them and let them drift in from out wide, which led to the first goal.
“But after that we looked strong. In the first half, it was a bit like a basketball game with them attacking and then us attacking.”
Rovers found themselves two goals down after a Harrison Burrows cross bounced through and straight in, before Ephron Mason-Clark doubled Posh’s advantage after the break.
And McCann was disappointed with costly defensive lapses on an otherwise solid afternoon.
“We had a lot of good chances, as they did,” he said. “We put some good blocks in on the line.
“But the two goals we’ve conceded really annoyed me. I speak to the team all the time about keeping people on the outside of them and not allowing the cross, which ended up straight in the back of the net. And on the second goal we let Ephron Mason-Clark on the inside. There was no real intensity from us to press either Ephron or Burrows and they’re good players who will punish you.”