Belfast Telegraph

Home Sport Football

Sheffield United boss Nigel Clough hails his giant killers as Ronald Koeman rages

By Jonathan Veal

Sheffield United boss Nigel Clough labelled his side's 1-0 Capital One Cup quarter-final victory over Premier League Southampton "remarkable" - and brushed off a spat with rival manager Ronald Koeman.

The League One Blades claimed a second top flight scalp of the season as Marc McNulty's 63rd minute goal was enough to see off hapless Saints and ensure a second semi-final in a major cup competition in two seasons after they reached the last four of the FA Cup last term.

Their victory over Koeman's men was thoroughly deserved and the 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 against 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 non-league Ilkeston Town, Che Adams and Kieran Wallace, who both came on as substitutes.

Clough said: "We would have settled for a 1-0 I think, but we probably should have had a second goal.

"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 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. The players love playing teams from higher leagues. 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 after making five changes to his starting XI.

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 said: "I shake hands with people who have respect for me.

"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. 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."

Belfast Telegraph

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph