Gareth Ainsworth remained upbeat despite watching his Wycombe Wanderers side lose the Sky Bet League 2 Play-Off Final against Southend United.In his post-match press conference, the manager aired his pride after the Chairboys’ remarkable season came to a dramatic, and ultimately disappointing, end.
Twelve months on from their last-day survival in The Football League, Ainsworth guided Wycombe to a fourth-placed finish in Sky Bet League 2 before leading them out at Wembley for the Play-Off Final against Southend.
But there was to be no fairytale ending to 2014/15 as Daniel Bentley denied Matt Bloomfield and Sam Wood in a penalty shoot-out to send the Shrimpers up, following a 1-1 draw after extra-time.
“No, not at all - I’m proud,” Ainsworth said, when asked if the 7-6 shoot-out loss was the worst feeling he’s had in football.
“I’m ready to build. We’ve had a great taste of a phenomenal season and I’m really looking forward to getting started again on 8th August.
“The players are down. They’ve given everything on the day and they didn’t get anything out of it. I’ll be telling them to look at the bigger picture, looking at the feeling we had 12 months ago."
Despite the loss, Ainsworth heaped praise on his side and immediately turned his attention to next term in Sky Bet League 2.
The former winger, who stood next to Southend boss Phil Brown on the Wembley touchline while the penalties were being taken, also wished the Shrimpers well as they go up to Sky Bet League 1.
"I have nothing but admiration for the players and the fans, and my staff, and I am relishing working with them again next year.
“I said to them [his players] that nobody leaves the stadium with their head down - ‘be proud of what you’ve achieved this season, keep your heads up’.
“I am proud of them. I’ve had defeats and bad moments in my career but that wasn’t a bad moment. Right at the death they’ve thrown everything at us and they’ve got one - that’s football.
“Fair play to Southend and Phil Brown. He’s a good manager and they’re a good club who were well supported today. I wish them all the success in the world in League 1.
“We’re the ones staying in League 2 and we will go for it again next year."
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