Watford manager Gianfranco Zola was full of praise for Crystal Palace and Ian Holloway after his team lost 1-0 in the Championship play-off final.
The game was stretched in long periods, but Zola's hornets struggled to make an impression on the game, with the likes of Matej Vydra and Almen Abdi looking a shadow of their regular selves.
Former Arsenal keeper Manuel Almunia made a string of impressive saves to keep Watford in the game and take the tie to added time. But it was striking veteran Kevin Phillips who handed Palace victory with an emphatically struck penalty in added time to win it for the Eagles.
And Zola had no complaints following the game, conceding that his loan-based side didn't match the tempo of their London rivals. But he felt that losing any game to a penalty was hard to take.
Zola told reporters: "They played well and probably deserved it more than us, so congratulations to them. It is tough for me and tough for all connected with Watford.
"It hasn't been our best game but to lose to an extra-time penalty is hard to take."
Zola's side has widely been made up of loan signings this season, thirteen in total, seven of which made up the starting XI in the Wembley defeat.
Despite the defeat, Zola has insisted that his team will be back to fight again next season.
"To be playing here was a big bonus for us, it wasn't expected. Next year we are determined to be stronger and we will be stronger.
"It has been remarkable. We had a lot of fun this year. We are going to make a stronger team. The players we believe are good enough, and if we want them to stay, they stay," continued Zola.
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