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Pride and bitter disappointment for McCann with play-off defeat

11 May 2024


Pride and bitter disappointment for McCann with play-off defeat

11 May 2024

Grant McCann spoke of pride and failure as he attempted to sum up his feelings following Rovers’ exit from the Sky Bet League Two play-offs on penalties.

Crewe Alexandra scored twice in the opening 15 minutes of the second leg at the Eco-Power Stadium to wipe away Rovers’ advantage from the first leg.

Though they did not get going in the first half, Rovers responded well in the second half and pushed hard through extra time to find a winner in the tie.

The game went to penalties, with Crewe triumphing 4-3 from the spot to secure a place in the final.

Though devastated by the defeat, McCann was able to briefly reflect on his side’s incredible run to secure a play-off place which brought just one defeat in 18 matches and a club record-equalling ten game winning run.

“I’m really proud of the boys,” he said. “I’m really proud of how we’ve turned our season around. I don’t think anyone would have given us any hope of getting to where we did.

“Ultimately we’ve failed, that’s what we’ve done and I said that to the players.

“That hurts. It really hurts me to say that but it’s the truth. We came here to try to get out of this league, we recruited well to do that but we haven’t done it.

“I’m just gutted. Really disappointed. The changing room is really flat and down.

“We just didn’t get going in the first half. We were disappointing, poor. We didn’t win enough duels and second balls, There was no energy about us.

“But I think from half time onwards we showed what we have been and unfortunately we just didn’t get the goal - that bit of magical quality to get us what we needed.”

Almost 13,000 supporters packed into the Eco-Power Stadium for the game with Rovers supporters energised by the positive momentum of recent months.

But McCann said he felt that they had let down everyone associated with the club with the defeat.

“It’s really raw. I’m low, flat and down,” he said. “I feel like we’ve let everybody down.

“I think it’s the first time the stadium has been full like this for many years and we gave them nothing, particularly in the first half. The fans kept going but we didn’t give them enough.

“I’m gutted for the fans, the players, for my staff and everyone associated with the football club because we feel like we’ve brought this club back together again with everyone singing off the same hymnsheet.

“It just wasn’t to be in the end.”

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