Nuno Espirito Santo was in a reflective mood after Watford came back from two goals behind to beat Wolves 3-2 in a dramatic FA Cup semi-final at Wembley.
Wolves went ahead in the 36th minute after Matt Doherty headed in at the back post from Diogo Jota’s cross. Raul Jimenez doubled their lead midway through the second half, chesting down the ball and finishing emphatically.
But Gerard Deulofeu, controversially left out of the starting line-up by Javi Gracia, made Wolves sweat as he scored the best goal of the game 12 minutes before time. The Spaniard showed delightful technique to float the ball in, with plenty of backspin, past John Ruddy and into the Wolves net.
Nuno looked to protect the lead in the closing stages as he took off Diogo Jota, who was lively throughout, and Ruben Neves.
“It was a tough game, we knew that,” said Nuno, speaking to the BBC after the match.
“There is sadness, there is pain but we have to look at it. In the final minutes of the game we should do better because the game was ours.
“Our fans were amazing and we should manage better. We must keep possession of the ball at the end, we had moments where we could have put the game to bed but we did not do that.”
Ryan Bennett and Ivan Cavaleiro came on in their place but they were unable to stop the Hornets scoring an injury-time equaliser when Troy Deeney was tripped in the box by Leander Dendoncker.
The Hornets striker stepped up to bury the injury-time penalty. At that point, Wolves were without two of their more creative, talented attackers for extra time, and they paid the price as Deulofeu burst past Conor Coady on the wing and slotted home Watford’s winner.
“We have to stick together. We will keep going. We must prepare well for the next game and keep growing as a team and try to reach a semi-final in the future and win it.
“It is tough, sometimes the pain that you feel makes you grow. You have to feel it as a group. We will stick together because it is our identity. It is relentless, we never give up and we will come again.
“It is a terrific season. Not only this season, last season we were in the Championship and came to the Premier League. We keep on fighting each game, each challenge we had ahead of us we go and compete. That will not change, ever.”