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By ESPN Staff

Fletcher philosophical after final defeat

West Ham midfielder Carl Fletcher was in philosophical mood after the Hammers' dramatic FA Cup final defeat to Liverpool on penalties.

The game finished 3-3 in normal time and after no more goals were scored in extra-time the Reds triumphed in the penalty shoot-out.

'What doesn't break you, makes you stronger,' said Welsh international midfielder Fletcher.

'We have got a young squad and this is a massive learning curve.

'Everyone is massively disappointed and will be for the next couple of weeks. But once that has gone away everyone can look back on a fantastic performance.

'It is just so disappointing to be so close but not get there.'

'People say the worst way to lose is on penalties. To lose an equaliser in the last minute and then lose on penalties is a massive blow for us,' said Fletcher.

'Gerrard is a world-class player and that is what world-class players do - they get their teams out of trouble. Maybe he was the difference.'

It was West Ham's first FA Cup final since 1980 - but despite defeat the Hammers can console themselves with the fact they have a UEFA Cup campaign to look forward to next season.

'Everyone tipped us for relegation but to get into Europe, to get into the cup final and be seconds away from winning it - it has been a massive season for us,' said Fletcher.

'The manager was proud of all the lads.'