Peterborough United manager Darren Ferguson admitted a failure to make an immediate return to the Championship has hurt him badly.
Posh lost their play-off semi-final second leg 2-1 at Leyton Orient tonight (May 13) leaving ‘The O’s’ to go through to the Wembley final later this month 3-2 on aggregate.
It’s the first time Posh have failed to win a play-off competition in their history.
Ferguson admits the season will now be classed as a disappointment despite Posh winning the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy at Wembley. The manager has a metting planned with chairman Darragh MacAnthony at London Road tomorrow (May 14) when the plans for next season’s promotion push will be finalised.
The indications are that Ferguson will manage that campaign. The club will announce their retained playing list tomorrow.
“We had a plan A and and a Plan B in place depending on what division we were in next season,” Ferguson revealed. “Obviously it’s plan B now and me and the chairman will sit down and discuss the future.
“Of course the season as a whole is now a disappointment. Winning the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy final was a target, but our main aim was to finish in the top two and return to the Championship.
“We were too inconsistent to manage that, but we fancied our chances in the play-offs so to miss out is a huge disappointment.
“The players are hurting right now as we all are. It’s the second successive season that we’ve suffered heartbreak in our last game. It’s painful, but this is not the time to criticise the players or anyone else.
“In fact I thank the players for their efforts and I congratulate Orient on reaching Wembley. I hope they go up now and I would have said that about anyone who beat us in the semi-final.
“I’m not sure they deserved to beat us over the two legs, but they have and fair play to them. They were more clinical than us tonight and that’s why they won the game.
“The game panned out as we thought it would. They started fast, but we soon got through that and we controlled the ball well in midfield for the rest of the half.
“But we had three ‘three-on-threes’ in the first-half alone when our decision-making and final ball let us down. At the start of the second-half if Danny Swanson had passed to Britt Assombalonga instead of shooting we would have been one-up and then Mark Little went close.
“Those moments define games and when their chances came they took them. That was the difference tonight.”
Posh chairman Darragh MacAnthony took to Twitter straight after the game to display his disappointment.
MacAnthony said: “Massive congratulations to Leyton Orient on their victory. Thoroughly deserved win with attacking play. Good luck in the final.
“To the 1,400 posh fans we let down tonight, you were magnificent as per usual and a credit to the club. Safe home!
“Football has ripped my heart out twice in the last 12 months in worst possible way. I truly love the game but it’s not loving me.”