‘You have to deal with it and move on’ - U’s McGreal

So near and yet so far: Colchester United players show their disappointment after missing out on the

So near and yet so far: Colchester United players show their disappointment after missing out on the League Two play-off, despite winning 3-0 at Lincoln. Skipper Frankie Kent, left, is distraught alongside Ethan Ross and Sammie Szmodics. Picture: PAGEPIX

Colchester United boss, John McGreal, is committed to helping his team “get stronger” to mount another promotion push next season, and this time hopefully a successful one.

The U's missed out on the top seven by a mere one point and one place this season, although that tells only half the tale.

McGreal's men were actually squatting in the vital last play-off berth, right up until rivals Newport snatched an 87th minute equaliser at Morecambe to leapfrog the U's, who were completing a sensational 3-0 win at champions Lincoln.

"We've played some unbelievable stuff this season, and the fans have said this as well," enthused McGreal.

"It can be a cruel game, and you start to think where could we have got that extra point from?

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"But you can't think like that, it's a season over 46 games, and we weren't able to get a couple more points during that blip (run of two wins in 10 matches between mid-February and mid-April).

"But it's still been a brilliant season - I would argue with anyone that it hasn't been a brilliant season. We've broken all our records since I've been, so I'm delighted with it.

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"We are trying to kick on, and to get stronger and stronger as a team, and we've been able to do that over the last three years.

"We've missed out again - with two minutes to go we were in it.

"But it wasn't to be, and you have to deal with it and move on.

"Results elsewhere did hurt, but we have to move on this summer.

"We have contracts to try and sort out, and targets to obviously try and bring in, which is how we try and move forward with this football club.

"We want to keep evolving as a club.

"It's our highest points total (70) to finish for quite a number of years, and 20 wins we haven't had for a number of years. It's also 19 clean-sheets, so it goes on and on.

"It's gutting how those last couple of minutes panned out. It's happened to me twice now in the last three years, going into the last game and reliant on others, and yet they score late or concede late.

"We were the team with momentum as well. People would have feared us, especially Mansfield after being so close and missing out - they would have been the team we played (in the play-offs)," added McGreal.

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