Bradford City manager Stuart McCall said that he "could not have asked for any more" from his players in the wake of their 1-0 League One Play-Off Final defeat to Millwall.
Steve Morison's goal just five minutes from the end condemned Bradford to a devastating defeat that was clearly hard to take for the former midfielder. The Bantams were the better side throughout the game and McCall noted that his side had "the majority of the ball" but rued missed chances.
Billy Clarke had his side's best opportunity when he was put through by the impressive Mark Marshall but his dinked effort was superbly kept out by Lions goalkeeper Jordan Archer. McCall said, "The boy Archer's save in the first half was top drawer. It was a great move and we got through but it's a bit of brilliance from their goalkeeper."
He continued, "We've come here and had a couple of good chances. Rory McArdle has headed a couple over and I felt at half-time that we should have come in ahead but for good saves from them."
Game panned out how McCall expected
The 52-year-old admitted that there are "fine lines in football" and that his side could easily have been the winning team at Wembley Stadium, but instead it was Millwall who "got the one goal of the game."
"The game panned out exactly how we though it would," a deflated McCall said in his post-match press conference. Continuing with, "We had 60 percent of the possession - the majority of the ball. They put us under a lot of pressure from corners and free-kicks which I felt we defended admirably. We wondered whether it (the game's crucial moment) would be a mistake or a stroke of luck."
On the immediate feeling of losing in dramatic fashion, McCall said, "It's all raw at the moment. There's not a lot I can say to the players apart from 'thanks for your efforts this season'. We want to be leaving here winners and this situation is difficult. Nobody wants to lose. I've got to credit this squad of players, backed by the supporters who were outstanding again today. It's been a fantastic journey [this season], almost an unbelievable one. It just wasn't our day today."
On planning ahead for next season, McCall said that he will "meet with the owners on Monday" and then "talk to the players on Tuesday." He continued, "The owners didn't expect us to be where we are this season so that's a bonus for them. We have a few players out of contract this summer so I don't know what the plans will be."