Liam Manning was left with a sense of pride after watching his MK Dons side give their all in the Second Leg of their Sky Bet League One Play-Off Semi Final with Wycombe Wanderers.
Manning’s men dominated the Chairboys but were only able to find one of the two goals they needed to overturn the 2-0 deficit from the First Leg.
As a result, the Dons miss out on the opportunity to gain promotion to the Championship at Wembley Stadium and while gutted not to have that chance, the Head Coach was still fulfilled by his side’s efforts on the night.
“We're disappointed, obviously, but I also have a sense of pride in how the players applied themselves,” Manning said in his post-match press conference.
“I'm so disappointed for the players because they couldn't have done any more. They are devastated in there but when that emotion settles, I'm sure they'll be proud of how they did.
“We were outstanding but it comes down to having enough quality in and around the box, which we didn't. We created enough chances but then you have (David) Stockdale's save from Theo (Corbeanu), Troy's one in the first half, which is a terrific chance. There were enough to score three or four (goals) tonight.
“It's a tough one to take because over the course of the two legs, we created more and better chances than them, but that's life sometimes and that's the game too.
“This is such a young group - only Skip has played in the play-offs before. It's a new experience for them and unfortunately they have to go through this, but they'll be better for it.
“We have to suck it up and make sure we come out tougher on the other side. We'll do that as a club, staff and a group of players. It hurts now but we'll channel it so that we can be better in the future.”
The Dons will have several weeks to lick their wounds before returning to pre-season training in mid-June ahead of the season opener on 30 July. Looking ahead to the off-season, Manning said: “We'll go away and reflect on the season.
“We will all need time to get over it as you can't just pick yourself up after that. They've worked so hard and are so emotionally invested, that they will need time to reflect as well as have some time away with their loved ones, families.”
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