Dave Jones, the Cardiff City manager, confessed last night that a series of missed half chances had all added up to one giant missed chance at Ninian Park.
"We could have and probably should have sneaked it,'' he said, after the goalless draw with Spurs in the third round of the FA Cup. "I thought we matched them in every department and for certain periods were dominant. The longer it went on I thought we would win it [but] we didn't take our opportunities when we were on top.''
Nevertheless, Jones refused to write off his side's chances in next week's replay at White Hart Lane. "There is no reason why we can't repeat what we have done today," he said. "When you are a professional footballer, I can assure you it's not really that different where you are playing; the goals are the same size, the pitch is the same size. We will have no excuses.''
Indeed, the result was even being welcomed in some parts of Ninian Park last night. "Peter Ridsdale [the Cardiff chairman] beat me to the changing room to congratulate the players,'' revealed Jones. "It's more money in the coffers and will be another great day out. We deserve to be there and should be proud of ourselves.''
Not everyone in blue was similarly ecstatic. Michael Chopra, the Cardiff striker who had at least two chances to make the breakthrough, was bemoaning the continued bad luck of the Championship high-fliers. "That's just the way it's been for us lately,'' Chopra said.
"We have had so many chances in games of late but have just failed to put the ball in the back of the net. However, we will go up to London with confidence. We know what we have got and we know what we can do.''
For his part, Martin Jol, the Tottenham manager, admitted that he had been impressed by Chopra and the rest of what he termed "a very lively home side'' and would cross the Severn Bridge a relieved man.
"We are very satisfied to take them back to our place,'' he said. " This is not an easy place to come especially with their fans and the rain pouring. All in all, it was a typical afternoon to go out of the FA Cup. It happened to us against Leicester at this stage last year and we are relieved to still be in there now.
"When I saw the draw I knew we would be in for a torrid afternoon and before the game I saw a note in the programme how a great Spurs team had been beaten here 30 years ago to the day. It can happen in the Cup."
Regarding the added pressure the replay will put on Tottenham's already brimming fixture list, Jol merely shrugged his shoulders. "We are just delighted to still be involved in four competitions [the FA Cup, the Carling Cup, the Uefa Cup and the League]. We have the squad that can cope with it. It is exactly where we wanted it to be.''
Riot police were needed at the away end towards the end of the stalemate, although the crowd disturbance had stopped by the final whistle. "The players have to get on with it anyway, and it didn't disturb anyone," Jones said.Reuse content