Peterborough United boss Darren Ferguson has defended his players after they gave up a four-goal lead in their League One win over Sheffield Wednesday.
But Ferguson, who is in his fourth season at Posh, insisted the team deserved credit for their efforts.
“They’ve been brilliant, players,” he told BBC Radio Cambridgeshire.
“I have to thank them for their efforts, because nobody gave us a chance when I came back.
“We’ve made great sequels and some great ones. We’ve brought smiles back to fans’ faces. We’ve played with real personality. We’ve played with real character.
“Unfortunately, it can be a brutal game, football, and this one is very difficult to take.”
Ferguson took charge of a team who were eighth in the table and had just one win in seven games when he took over in January following the sacking of Grant McCann.
He pushed Derby County into the playoffs win at Barnsley when the Rams were beaten by the Owls at Hillsborough on the final day of the regular season.
And it looks like they will arrive at Wembley after beating Wednesday in the one-sided first leg.
However, the Owls got the early goals they wanted, were two up at halftime, and led the Eagles 4-4 on aggregate and added extra time at the end of the 90 minutes in front of a raucous home crowd.
“I knew if they took the pressure and the first goal – our goal was to get the first goal – then their fans would pull for them,” said Ferguson, who is out of contract. He said things were “unquestionable” to discuss his future.
Posh ‘had no choice’
Former Peterborough player Francis Green questioned Ferguson’s decision to try to strengthen the defense at the end of the season.
The visitors weathered the waves after Wednesday’s depression, but the tide didn’t change after this period.
Green told BBC Radio Cambridgeshire: “Peterborough went into two positions at half-time, bringing two players on at the back.
“As a player, I like psychologically when the other team makes the wrong substitutions. It showed me that the opposition is afraid of my team.
“They were controlling the tie in the last minute, but they had no way out. They had no way to attack on Wednesday.
“You bring condemnation upon yourself when you do that.”