Date: 30th November 2016 at 3:25pm
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Manager Mike Phelan was delighted to see the effort of the Hull City players rewarded in last night’s League Cup quarter final tie against Newcastle United.

Hosting Rafa Benitez’s side at the KCOM Stadium for the tie, whilst the visitors had the better of the chances and the possession across the game, we still took the hugely in form Championship table toppers into extra time, and with a 98th minute opener from them, Robert Snodgrass had us back on level terms 60 seconds later, despite being a man down, and that took us to the dreaded penalty shoot out.

Not that dreaded though as we won three one.

Speaking to the Official Site in his post game press conference, a clearly delighted Phelan knew it had been a tough game but he felt with the effort on show from the players moving through to the semi final stages was a just reward.

‘On the night we performed heroically in the end and the players stuck to the task. We played against adversity at times, but we came through. We came from behind again and that is something we seem to have in our locker at the moment, although we`d rather not have to do it. We showed tremendous courage and spirit throughout against a very good Newcastle team that are serious contenders for promotion back to the Premier League.’

Phelan went on to say that he simply couldn’t credit the players more for their effort.

‘We`ve put in an exceptional performance under a lot of stress. Ten men, extra time and penalties, we`ve gone through the lot. Once you go down to ten men with another 30 minutes to play, you know you`re going to have to defend and we did that and we actually created a great opportunity to win it with a couple of minutes to go when Snodgrass went through. We didn`t take it and you do then wonder whether that was your chance. However, the players were confident going into the penalty shoot-out and I think they showed that. The players have put a lot of effort in and got a result, so I`m pleased for them.’

With the above referenced red card, that was shown to Dieumerci Mbokani for violent conduct a minute before regulation time ended, and asked about that clash of heads, Phelan knew he could have few complaints with the referee`s decision – but he did have some sympathy for the player seeing a red mist of his own.

‘It`s something that disappoints me. Mbokani was taking tackles from behind left, right and centre all night and he over-reacted to that one incident. He got punished for it. He put the referee in a position where he had to make a decision and he did.’

Phelan was also questioned further in his post game press conference about his feelings on being a part of club history in seeing us through to the semi finals of the competition for the first time and he knew it was all about the effort and the togetherness of the side that produced that ‘terrific’ outcome.

‘It`s terrific and it`s congratulations to the players for their efforts really. Getting through to the semi-finals of this competition is a tremendous achievement for this football club and it`s the furthest we`ve ever been. It`s something nice for the players – they worked hard for the reward and hopefully we can go one step further now. We approach every game wanting to win and when this one came along, I said to the players that having come this far we had a chance to go further. If we didn`t want to, then why are we in it? We might as well have gone out early. The players found the togetherness to take us to the next level. It`s a bit of progress and a run in a cup competition doesn`t do any harm.’

With Newcastle missing three of their four spot kicks, and Eldin Jakupovic saving two in the shootout, he went on to say of the penalty events that we hadn’t practised them ahead of the game.

‘We didn`t practice them, but I thought we were very clinical from the spot. Under that kind of spotlight, the players executed their efforts well. Eldin took his opportunity and when it comes down to penalties, he is as confident as anybody in his role.’

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