Tommy Rowe admits it was ‘devastating’ to throw away the League Two title.
But the midfielder reckons Doncaster Rovers could be stronger for it next season.
And he says Rovers as a club now have form for bouncing back strongly from disappointment.
Rowe - whose arrival last summer proved to be a catalyst for significant change at the Keepmoat Stadium - says righting the wrongs of last year’s shock relegation was a key motivation behind Doncaster’s instant promotion back to the third tier.
And the 28-year-old, reflecting on last season with The Star, is confident Rovers can also bounce back from their title disappointment when they make their return to League One next term.
“Four consecutive defeats at the end of the season was devastating really, because of how much hard work we put into getting into that position,” said Rowe.
“But things happen and we’ve got to move on from it.
“It happened at a time period where the gaffer and his staff can look at it and see where we fell short.
“From a players’ perspective it is a long season.
“To go from relegation to promotion is difficult but it was made a lot easier with the squad we have, the staff and the club in general.
“The gaffer said at the end of season do it’s been a collective thing - including the media, everyone - to achieve what we did.
“And I think key to it was the belief from the management and the staff.
“We knew what our goal was from the very first day of training. We knew the objective.
“There was also the fact that a lot of us felt the pain of coming down - and had that clear view on the first day of training [that we wanted to make up for it].”
Rowe admitted that being promoted with five games to spare may have affected the squad’s mindset - prior to those successive defeats against Blackpool, Wycombe Wanderers, Exeter City and Hartlepool which ultimately saw long-time leaders Rovers finish third in the final standings.
“The belief was the main thing [that got us promoted] and I think that’s all that football boils down too,” said Rowe.
“It’s a mind game more than a physical game. Although you run around a lot, you do more thinking.
“Possibly the last five games came down to the mindset of being promoted. Who knows?
“We’ll never know but we’ve got to look at the positives now because next season is going to be massive.
“It’s going to be a tough campaign but if we are positive and go into the season like we did last year after some heartache we’ll have a good year.”