Albion's manager praised the efforts from his players today, but bemoaned a costly refereeing decision.
Brighton & Hove Albion manager Chris Hughton spoke of the pride he had in his players at the final whistle, after his team couldn't overcome Middlesbrough in the final-day shoot-out.
The Seagulls drew 1-1 at the Riverside, but Hughton was also left fuming by referee Mike Dean's decision to send off Dale Stephens, early in the second half, following a clash with Gaston Ramirez.
Hughton said, "At this moment, there are a lot of different emotions. The biggest emotion is that we are incredibly proud of these lads, they have been terrific all season and it was always going
to be a very difficult game today.
"We went 1-0 down and we showed great character to respond how we did in a stadium like this and I am very proud of what they've done."
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Albion hit back, after Cristhian Stuani opened the scoring, with Stephens heading in an equaliser ten minutes into the second half, but three minutes later, he was shown a red card by Dean.
Hughton, who has confirmed the club will appeal against the dismissal, added, "We all know that football is about momentum, and as soon as we got our goal we knew momentum would be with us.
"The red card decision was wrong and that of course is going to change the game. It's tough on us because it means we were without a very good player for what was the biggest game the club has had for many years.
"Referees have a tough job as it is, I know that, but the biggest disappointment for me is that the referee was the closest person to the incident.
"My first impression is that it was never a red card, I wasn’t even sure that it was a yellow card. Dale played the ball, and won the ball.
"In no way was it a red card. The referee had taken out a yellow card, but it appears the other officials changed his mind.
"The players are hurting in there because they came so close. They put in a lot. We will assess what we need to do this week ahead of Friday night and of course to get a result on Monday.
"They are bound to feel down and that’s part of football. They are a good and spirited group. On Friday they will be ready to go again and we look forward to the opportunity."