Speaking after Joel Lynch had earned Forest a last-gasp point against Brighton in a game which Cotterill felt his side 'dominated' the City Ground boss gave his verdict.
"The boys deserved more than they got," he said.
"Two things stood out for me - our team spirit to keep going and the supporters, who were magnificent.
"There was a connection today and the fans realised we played some fantastic football at times. They stayed with us right to the end and they got their rewards when we got the equaliser.
"The fans gave the team a standing ovation at the end - and it's what the players deserved."
Cotterill's verdict on the game drew no argument from opposite number Gus Poyet who admitted his side 'got lucky' with their point.
The Reds are now four points above the relegation zone with a game in hand on the two teams below them. That game takes them to Leicester in midweek with the feel-good factor engendered by the 7-3 win at Leeds still in place thanks to Lynch's late show.