Fernandes: Man Utd 'made big steps' this season despite FA Cup heartbreak
Bruno Fernandes said Manchester United had made "big steps for next season" despite their bitter 2-1 defeat at the hands of Manchester City in the FA Cup final on Saturday.
Ilkay Gundogan scored the fastest goal in an FA Cup final, with just 12 seconds on the clock at Wembley.
Fernandes levelled from the penalty spot but Gundogan struck the winner early in the second half.
United broke their six-year trophy drought in February, beating Newcastle in the League Cup final, and finished third in the Premier League in Erik ten Hag's first season at the helm.
But they were second best in the London sunshine as Premier League champions City remained on course for a treble.
"Everyone is down and it's really difficult," United captain Fernandes told the BBC. "We wanted to end the season in a different way but it wasn't possible.
"We've made big steps for next season. It wasn't a successful season overall but it was a good one. We have to come back next season and try to win bigger trophies."
Fernandes said City deserved the win.
"We were too soft and gave up too much space for the first goal but it's an amazing strike," he said of Gundogan's stunning early opener.
"If players are tighter then maybe they can stop it but it's an amazing strike."
The Portuguese midfielder said United's supporters deserved more.
"Our fans have been great all season and they deserved a different result today," he said. "We're disappointed that we couldn't give the fans the joy they deserve.
"We are grateful for everything they have done this season. I promise we will come and try again next season."