Clough hails “remarkable” win

Published: Wednesday 17th December 2014 by The News Editor

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Sheffield United boss Nigel Clough hailed his side’s 1-0 Capital One Cup quarter-final victory over Southampton as “remarkable”.

The League One Blades claimed a second Premier League scalp of the season as Marc McNulty’s second-half goal was enough to see off a hapless Saints and ensure a second semi-final appearance in a major cup competition in two seasons after they reached the last four of the FA Cup last season.

Their victory over Ronald Koeman’s men was thoroughly deserved and their winning margin and Southampton’s humiliation would have been far greater had goalkeeper Fraser Forster not made a string of fine saves.

Clough, who has overseen victories over Aston Villa, Fulham, West Ham and now Southampton in the last 12 months, was especially delighted as his side featured an 18-year-old Louis Reed and recent recruits from Ilkeston, Che Adams and Kieran Wallace, who both came on as substitutes.

Clough said: “That’s the only slightly disappointing thing, we would have settled for a 1-0 I think, but we probably should have had a second goal tonight.

“It was a remarkable effort by the players.

“The 14 lads we had out there gave absolutely everything.

“When you consider we had a couple of lads from Ilkeston Town out there, an 18-year-old, a right winger playing at right-back, that all comes into it and that makes it a remarkable result.

“It makes nights like this very special for supporters and the atmosphere they make, not many clubs will want to come here and play a cup tie.

“We thought we created the better chances and played well. In the last half an hour we controlled it.

“The players love playing teams from higher leagues, I think they relish it, I don’t think it daunts them and we do look forward to these type of evenings.

“I just tell them they are a League One side against a Premier League side get out there and give it a go.”

Saints boss Koeman was left to reflect on a fifth successive defeat and although he made five changes to his starting XI, the nature of their performance indicates the bubble on their stellar start to the season has firmly burst.

And the Dutchman knows his side deserved nothing from the game.

“We played too much long ball at certain times, we didn’t have that ball precision that we usually have and then it’s more difficult because you have more tackles and more second balls,” he said.

“We didn’t bring our football and with the way they like to play it is difficult to win. That was the difference.

“I know that it is cup football and it is not about the level, they showed a fantastic spirit and that made it difficult.

“You know that it won’t be the first time a League One club beat a Premier League club and you know it won’t be the last.

“That’s football. But then you have to bring more quality on to the pitch and we didn’t.”

Koeman refused to shake hands with Clough at full-time after a spat in the wake of the Blades’ winner, which resulted in the hosts’ first-team coach Chris Morgan being sent to the stands.

He added: “I shake hands with people who have respect for me and who has respect for the fourth official.

“I think the behaviour of Sheffield United’s bench, I never saw that and that’s the reason I didn’t shake hands.”

But Clough was nonplussed and responded: “Not a lot is going to disappoint us tonight.

“He’s entitled to his opinion. I don’t think one word should be said on it, we should be talking about how we have just beaten a Premier League side.”

Published: Wednesday 17th December 2014 by The News Editor

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