GETHIN Jones apologised to the Bolton Wanderers fans after their promotion hopes went up in smoke at Wembley.

Emotion was very much at the surface as the defender spoke to the local press in the mixed zone, with Oxford United’s players still celebrating in their dressing room just yards away.

Jones found it difficult to express how the performance levels had dropped so severely on the biggest day of the season.

“I’m speechless,” he said. “Honestly, we are all devastated. We don’t know what has happened.

“We didn’t work the normal gameplan, do the patterns we’d normally do, we were slow. We are devastated for the fans, the whole club.

“Honestly, we were trying to put our finger on it in the changing room and we all said the same, it was just the worst performance of the season. For that to be in the play-off final is bizarre.

“I don’t even know what to say.”

Asked what he wanted to say to the supporters, 32,000 of which had gone to the capital in the hope of seeing their side secure Championship football, the 28-year-old added: “We’d just say thank you for absolutely everything through the season, even today they were in top voice and pushed us to the end but it wasn’t to be. We apologise to them and we just have to look ourselves in the mirror now. It will be a very difficult five or six weeks.”

Oxford United raced into a two-goal lead by half time and should have widened the lead in the second half after creating a handful of presentable chances.

Jones felt preparations for the game were positive but was at a loss to explain why the plan failed so miserably on the day.

Oxford had been vanquished 5-0 at the Toughsheet Stadium in March but the vice-captain did not feel any sense of entitlement going into the weekend.

“We were expecting it, we had done a lot of prep this week and knew their form,” he said. “They had been really good since that game and we knew what to expect.

“We didn’t do what we’d worked on all week.”

Asked whether the injury sustained by Paris Maghoma early in the game could have affected the performance, he added: “Maybe, we can look at all sorts. There are a lot of things we can look on.

“We all need to look at ourselves, to a man. Every single person on that pitch were not up to standard and we can’t understand why.

“None of us knew what to say. We will have some time now to look at what went wrong, how to improve, and go again.”