Sheffield United: Danny Wilson stands by Steve Simonsen
Sheffield United manager Danny Wilson defended keeper Steve Simonsen after his missed penalty proved decisive in the League One play-off final.
Simonsen, who saved two kicks, blazed over to hand Huddersfield an 8-7 shoot-out win after a 0-0 draw at Wembley.
But Wilson said: "Simmo has had a fantastic game.
"Saving penalties like he did, you feel doubly disappointed for him because he should have been on the winning side with his performance."
Simonsen, who is now out of contract, did not concede a goal in any of Sheffield United's three play-off games.
As well as defending his 33-year-old keeper, Wilson did not accept any criticism of his tactics after starting with Richard Cresswell as his sole striker.
The Blades finished the season nine points ahead of fourth-placed Huddersfield and scored 92 goals in League One, the highest in the Football League.
"Give them credit for the way they defended against us," the former Sheffield Wednesday boss said. "You cannot level anything at my team. They are a very offensive side - they scored 90-plus goals in the season, that takes some doing. I hope we're as defensive again next year."
Wilson thought the teams were very similarly set up and evenly matched: "I think the two teams were very closely put together - we both had experience and flair players. We had good defensive work, there was nothing between the two sides.
"I felt overall it was a very tough game. They had chances, we had chances. But it wasn't an open game by any stretch of the imagination. I don't think you get them at this level but I think the lads have done fantastic and we sit back here with a massive amount of disappointment in the dressing room.
Blades' play-off form
Sheffield United have failed to score in any of their four play-off finals - losing 1-0 to Crystal Palace in 1997, 3-0 to Wolves in 2003, 1-0 to Burnley in 2009 and now on penalties to Huddersfield
"All the hard work that they've put in all season for long periods, they feel it has been taken away from them. When it starts to die down they can feel very proud of the season they've had. They've had a terrific season - 90 points, 90-odd goals. I think it's a great return for the efforts they've put in this year.
"When you get fans supporting the lads like they have done over a period of time, and not just over the big games, it suggests we're going in the right direction."
Huddersfield lost last year's final, 3-0 to Peterborough, and Wilson is taking some hope from that.
"Credit to Huddersfield, they bounced back after last year's disappointment," he said. "We have to try to take a leaf out of their book and do the same."
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