Albion's manager is determined to come back stronger in August.
Brighton & Hove Albion boss Chris Hughton tonight spoke about how proud he is of his group of players, and has urged them to use their disappointment as a motivation to go one better next season.
Albion drew their play-off semi-final second leg 1-1 at the Amex, losing out 3-1 on aggregate, despite an outstanding performance, with incredible backing from the stands.
An obviously disappointed, but incredibly proud Hughton said, "I have a group of players in there who have been magnificent all season. They have never been out of that top six and have been in the top three for most of the season. What they have got to do is to use this as inspiration.
"It is tough at the moment, but they have got to use this as inspiration to want to replicate it next season. It's going to be even harder if anything next season, but they are going to have to replicate the things that they have done all season.
"Most of the players have had a few tears in their eyes tonight because they know how good they have been this season. We have been so close.
"It was a real tough one at Middlesbrough, where I think the momentum was with us and had we kept 11 players on the pitch, then I think we had a great chance of automatic.
"We didn't expect it at the start of the season, but it has grown on this group of lads and as each game and each week has gone, they have become more and more inspired by the season and the chance of doing it.
"It has been tough in these last few games. We had injuries in the game at Sheffield, which I have never seen before and it gave them a two-goal lead, which is tough to get back against anybody, particularly in the playoffs. All of that bit is tough, but I am keener to speak about this group.
"They have been excellent to work with. Their application every day and their team spirit is as good as I have been involved with as a manager or a coach and I just hope that they can use today’s events and the season’s events to be better next season.
"To finish so many points clear of sixth place makes it tough, but that is how it is and they will be better players for it and they will be more experienced for it."
- REPORT: ALBION 1 SHEFFIELD WEDNESDAY 1
- ALBION WIN FOOTBALL LEAGUE FAMILY EXCELLENCE AWARD
- ALBION ACHIEVE TOP RTC RATING
- AITC TO HOLD CYCLE CHALLENGE FOR DISABILITY SPORT
- KAYAL WINS PLAYER OF THE SEASON AWARD
Meanwhile, Hughton felt his side deserved more from tonight's 1-1 draw, after an outstanding performance, particularly during the first 45 minutes.
He added, "I didn’t think that it was the correct scoreline. We certainly had the better chances, their goal was a foul on Lewis Dunk – there are no doubts about that – and unfortunately for us we have gone through a period in these last few games where things have gone against us, either decisions or injuries.
"It is tough at the moment, as I have a very disappointed group of players in there and I genuinely feel that we deserved more.
"It wasn't to be though and we have to now make sure that we will be very much up for the challenge. It will take a little while to get this out of our system, but we need to make sure we are ready for the challenge next season."