Chris Neal says everyone at Fleetwood Town should take pride from Saturday’s goalless draw with Premier League side Leicester City in the 3rd round of the Emirates FA Cup.
Town were outstanding against the former champions of England, and were perhaps unlucky not to have won the game late on through Ash Hunter.
It also proved to be a comfortable afternoon for Neal, who didn’t have a shot to save – with The Foxes struggling to beat a solid Cod Army backline.
“I think we can be as a club, and as players, and as management staff, extremely proud of what we’ve done today,” said Neal.
“To get drawn against a big Premier League outfit at home, it was always going be a tough game.
“In the end, I think we could have nicked a win, but we go to their place in 10 days time full of confidence.
“We probably had the best of the game to be honest, we had the better chances and I didn’t have an actual save to make today.
“Credit to the manager and the staff for how he set us up tactically today to nullify their counter attacks and opportunities.
“We’ve shown today we can match any Premier League side.”
Hunter’s effort rebounded off the post and onto the body of goalkeeper Eldin Jakupovic, before the Swiss stopper smothered the ball to safety, and much like a majority of the home crowd at Highbury, Neal thought it had gone in.
“I thought it was in when I heard the fans!” added Neal.
“I was celebrating to myself but it wasn’t to be. They are little bits of luck you do need in big games like this but unfortunately it wasn’t to be.”
And when it comes to the fourth round, should we progress, Neal’s answer is simple.
“For me, it’s Liverpool away. Or any of the big four away, but we have to get through the replay first.”