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Oscar so proud of Albion's "fantastic season" despite defeat
Albion boss Oscar Garcia has hailed a "fantastic season" for the club and insists reaching the play-offs was a "great achievement" after their Premier League dream died against rampant Derby County.
The injury-plagued Seagulls suffered a 4-1 defeat in last night's second leg in the East Midlands to lose 6-2 on aggregate.
County now head for the Championship final against QPR or Wigan at Wembley on May 24, while Albion are left to lick the injury wounds which have inhibited them all season.
Skipper Gordon Greer limped out of the second leg midway through the first half with hamstring trouble, compounding the absence of his regular centre-half partner Matt Upson (ankle).
Oscar told The Argus: "If you can see the whole picture it has been a fantastic season for us. Not many people felt we could reach the play-offs with all the injuries and everything that happened during the season. It was a great achievement for us.
"We played the most important game of the season with five players under 21. Some of them played during the season more with the DS (development squad) than with us. I am very proud of that."
Derby's second goal early in the second half, Chris Martin's fourth against Albion this season, killed the Seagulls off. It came after Leo Ulloa had been denied by keeper Lee Grant at the end of the first half and just as Oscar was about to bring on Kazenga LuaLua and Craig Mackail-Smith.
Oscar said: "I think the second one was a big blow for us. We had a chance at the end of the first half when Leo could have scored but we didn't take it.
"We wanted to make the subsititutions before (the second goal) but, to be honest, they were much better than us.
"In the first leg we played much better and deserved much more but in the second leg they were much better and they deserved to go through.
"Maybe we could complain about the two penalties (not awarded) in the first leg but I don't want to look for excuses. They are a better team than us and they deserve to be in the final."
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