Latics boss Uwe Rosler thanked his players after Monday’s extra-time defeat to Queens Park Rangers pulled the curtain down on a remarkable campaign.
Rosler will look to lead his side back to the Premier League in his first full season at the helm in 2014-15 and he says that he is firmly of the belief that the step back could return two steps forward.
“I’m a strong believer that in life first you have to fail before you be a winner, next year we will be winners,” Rosler said.
“Nobody can be criticised, everybody gets praise becuase I think we made our chairman and our supporters proud.
“Now is not the time to look back at our achievements, now is the time to get our minds sorted again and my work will start now, speaking to the chairman and see what we can and can’t do next year.
“I congratulate every player for giving me everything and that is a fantastic feeling as a manager; when you have a group of players who dig in, day in, day out over a 62-game season and have to play catch up for four or five months with not a lot of room for error.”
On the game itself, Rosler told the press his players once again gave their all but just fell short at the final hurdle and placed on record his best wishes to Harry Redknapp and his Rangers side.
“They gave every little drop; they squeezed out everything they’ve got and I don’t think many squads could cope with the match programme we’ve had,” he continued.
“99% of my squad have been absolutely fantastic but today we needed a little bit of lady luck on our side when we could have scored in the last few minutes.
“Both teams gave it their all and I wish Harry all the best in the final - he was very relieved afterwards.
“We kept focused, kept on going and in the end, after the Arsenal game, the tank got more and more empty and we found it hard in the end to keep on winning, we were very, very close, though.
“It was a typical [play-off] game – what we expected – but when James McArthur went off, they overpowered us in certain areas for some periods but, in extra-time, I think we looked the stronger team and unfortunately they had one split moment where we didn’t have awareness and it cost us.”