"Full of disappointment" – with the pain of Fulham FC's UEFA Europa League final defeat by Club Atlético de Madrid still raw – Simon Davies insists this is the beginning of a new chapter for the club, not the end of one.
"It's been a great journey, we've loved every minute of it," the midfielder told UEFA.com. "
It's just a shame we couldn't go on and experience what it feels to win the trophy as well. But I'm sure in the days and months to come we'll look back on this with a lot of pride, to get here in the first place. Hopefully it's the start of something at Fulham. It's been a great two years – qualifying for this competition [by finishing seventh in the Premier League] last season. Not many would have backed us to get to the final this year."
They almost went one better after Davies had cancelled out Diego Forlán's 32nd-minute opener before half-time – the game was suddenly there for the taking. "At the time, to get us back in the game, it was great for me to score," said the 30-year-old Welsh international. "It got us back on level terms and gave us some momentum. I thought we finished the half and started the second half strongly – it's a shame we didn't capitalise and get a goal. They eventually came back into the game."
Indeed, as the match wore on there was little to choose between the teams, but in extra time Forlán tapped into previously undetected reserves of energy. With four minutes of extra time remaining, the Uruguayan international struck the decisive blow, finally killing off a Fulham side that had beaten FC Shakhtar Donetsk, Hamburger SV and Juventus. "We just have to congratulate Atlético Madrid but we're full of disappointment," said Davies. "Getting so close, getting to the final and nearly getting to penalties.
"We were hanging on a bit at the end, getting a bit leggy. They work you well with the ball, you've got to do a lot of defending and keep your shape, which we did. But to get so close is just tough to take.
Taking it to penalties it becomes a lottery – to lose it so close to the end was very disappointing. It's tough to take."
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