Cardiff manager Dave Jones shows his displeasure at Sheffield Wednesday
Cardiff boss Dave Jones vowed to bounce back from the biggest disappointment of his career after losing a Championship play-off place on the final day.
Jones' side needed a point to guarantee themselves a top-six spot and continue their tilt at Premier League promotion.
But a 1-0 defeat at Sheffield Wednesday and Preston's 2-1 home win over QPR ensured Cardiff's season ended in woe.
"It's probably my biggest disappointment... to lose at the death is a gut-wrencher," Jones said.
"Relegation at Wolves was a hard one to take, but when you're so close and you've been close for a long time - 45 games we've been close.
"We have to learn from it. It's harsh lesson to learn. We'll pick ourselves up, dust ourselves down and get ready again."
Wednesday winger Jermaine Johnson slammed home a spectacular volley from the edge of the penalty area in the 71st minute to condemn Cardiff to another season in the second tier by the narrowest of margins.
Both Cardiff and Preston finished level on 74 points with an identical goal difference, but the Lancashire side snatched the last play-off spot by virtue of having scored one more goal than the Welshmen.
Last month the Bluebirds lost 6-0 at Preston - part of a run that saw Cardiff take just one point from the last 12 on offer - a result that has made the crucial difference in the final analysis.
"It's that mental side of the game and a lot of these players have not been in this situation before," added former Southampton and Wolves boss Jones.
"It's a horrible feeling. I missed out at Wolves one season in the play-offs and we were stronger for it.
"That's what this lot, the ones that stay, have to be. Some are going to get hammered from all quarters and they've got to take it on the chin and we've got to be strong for it.
"They're so disappointed it's hard to take in, but the only way of getting rid of it is by going again next year.
"Ability-wise, running, strength, pace, it's all there, but maybe we just lacked that mental strength to see it through."
"I thought the team was good enough. It proved it wasn't. We'll all look at ourselves, but I thought this squad was good enough to go up, not in the play-offs but automatically.
"But the table doesn't lie. We had a fantastic record until four games ago and we'll all take responsibility."
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