Wycombe Wanderers boss Gareth Ainsworth has promised his side “will keep upsetting the odds” after suffering Sky Bet League One Play-Off Final heartbreak.
The Chairboys were beaten 2-0 by Sunderland at Wembley Stadium and missed out on an instant return to the Sky Bet Championship.
It brought to an end a campaign which had seen Ainsworth’s side finish sixth with 83 points.
“I told the players how proud I was of them and this was just one moment in a season of fantastic moments,” he said.
“It’s the defining moment but we will be back and stronger for this, and I promise that this group will achieve if we stick together.
“We keep producing and keep upsetting the odds. This is the best squad I’ve ever had at Wycombe. We’ll dust ourselves off. I’m so proud we amassed 83 points in League One, and if we can do that again I’m sure we’ll be fine.”
Despite missing out on promotion, there has been continued progress at Adams Park, with last season marking the first time the Club had ever played in the second tier.
“Eight years ago we survived on the last day at Torquay from going into the National League and I think Sunderland finished 16th in the Premier League,” said Ainsworth.
“The progress this side has made has been phenomenal. Seeing 23,000 Wycombe people turn up today makes me so proud. We’ll be back here and we’ll have learned and be stronger and more resilient. Unfortunately today we just came up short.
“It’s lump in the throat time when you see people around the town in blue shirts. It never happened before. When I was a player it lost its way a bit, the 90s were fantastic for this Club, it was a real proud moment when they made the Football League but it went off the boil a little bit.
“The town has always been a new town in football and football was never the big thing. It’s huge to see the kids and a new generation wearing shirts and getting behind their team. I’m proud to say the boys have produced and given absolutely everything every single game and I’m a proud manager today.”
Attention will now turn to next season and whether Ainsworth, alongside owner Rob Couhig, can push for promotion again.
“I couldn’t have better owners. You’ve got your sheiks and your billionaires, but give me my owners any day – it’s just been absolute support,” said Ainsworth.
“I’m not one who chases cash, or chases status, I’m really happy where I am. As long as people are happy with me I’ll keep doing my job and trying to improve this football club.”