Neil Warnock: Every Leeds player did their bit against Tottenham on kind of day us managers live for

When you defy the odds – and most of my career I have been the underdog – it is a great feeling

I came back from exchanging team-sheets in the referee's room before Sunday's FA Cup tie with Tottenham, handed theirs to Mick Jones, my assistant manager, and said: "Look at that. We'll do well to get a kick." Andre Villas-Boas had picked a virtually full-strength side.

Fortunately, you don't win games on the team-sheet. We set up to try to nullify their strengths, every player really pulled their weight, the fans got right behind us and the early goal settled us down. I was especially pleased it was Luke Varney who scored as I'd put him in instead of Luciano Becchio, our top scorer. Luciano's been the subject of a lot of transfer speculation and I made up my mind midweek not to play him, but Luke's not exactly a fans' favourite. So all credit: he stood up to be counted, not just taking his goal well but contributing all the way through. When you are up against wide players such as Aaron Lennon and Gareth Bale you need your own wide players to help out and they did.

A terrific goal by Ross McCormack gave us a cushion but Bale produced a great piece of skill to get Spurs back into it. Our centre-half Tom Lees said he was the one who headed Gareth's cross in, but as no one seems to have noticed Tom's happy to let Clint Dempsey have the goal.

I expected the Alamo after that but it did not materialise. Then Michael Brown, who'd been magnificent, gave away a daft free-kick in injury time. I turned to my coach, Ronnie Jepson, and said: "If they score he'll never kick a ball for me again." Jeppo said: "I'm just crossing all my fingers for him, gaffer."

Then I realised Brad Friedel had come up for the free-kick and no one had picked him up. Inevitably, Friedel got his head to it but we managed to clear and should have had a third on the breakaway, but the spoilsport referee blew for time before Rudy Austin could score.

To beat a strong Tottenham side everyone had to do a bit more and they did. I did not have a man of the match, everyone was a nine out of 10 for me as they had all done their jobs. And when one did make a mistake, their mate got them out of it.

It's a match to remember because we've had a difficult few weeks. Even though we've won six on the trot at home the fans have been a bit restless; they cheered sarcastically when we had a shot against Bristol City, which these players don't deserve, they try their hardest.

I had some guests and we were about to leave when one of them said, "The fifth-round draw's in a few minutes, let's wait for it." I knew which teams I didn't want – mainly from our division. The first few names it was "we don't want them". Then Manchester City came out. Everyone went "Yes!", I went "Oh no". After the initial shock I think it is a great draw. It's good financially and Manchester City v Leeds has a big-match ring to it. We've we'll try to get it right tactically and give them a game. I wonder if my old mate Carlos Tevez will play?

Yesterday sums up why I've been in football all these years. When you defy the odds – and most of my career I have been the underdog – it is a great feeling. To send the fans home happy, knowing they'll be buzzing all week, is what keeps us managers going. These are the days I'll miss when I pack it in.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

A nap a day could save your life - and here's why

A nap a day could save your life

A midday nap is 'associated with reduced blood pressure'
If men are so obsessed by sex, why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?

If men are so obsessed by sex...

...why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?
The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3

Jon Thoday and Richard Allen-Turner

The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3
The bathing machine is back... but with a difference

Rolling in the deep

The bathing machine is back but with a difference
Part-privatised tests, new age limits, driverless cars: Tories plot motoring revolution

Conservatives plot a motoring revolution

Draft report reveals biggest reform to regulations since driving test introduced in 1935
The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

BBC heads to the Californian coast

The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

Car hacking scandal

Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
10 best placemats

Take your seat: 10 best placemats

Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory