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INTERVIEW: Liam Kelly reflects on Emirates FA Cup exit

City suffer shoot-out defeat...

5 February 2020

On an evening when Liam Kelly made his 100th appearance for the Sky Blues, he saw his side exit the Emirates FA Cup after a penalty shootout defeat against Birmingham.

The Sky Blues were pegged back twice in added time, both in 90 minutes and extra time and Kelly believed his side did enough to progress in the tie.

He said: “If you look at the two ties, we can count ourselves massively unlucky.

“The first leg Cal’s chance that doesn’t go in unfortunately, and tonight we conceded two late goals and if you look at the second one it is a cross that has just spooned in.

“The lads can be proud of their performances tonight because we did enough to win, we created enough chances and we were massively unlucky.

“I feel sorry for the supporters who travelled here today because it was fantastic support yet again and we are all disappointed.”

Despite the defeat, Kelly was pleased with his side’s overall performance as the Sky Blues created enough chances to win the game inside the 90 minutes.

Both forwards who started the game got onto the score sheet and Kelly was pleased to see Amadou Bakayoko back amongst the goals.

He said: “He caused them real problems at the back and I thought they found it hard to deal with our strikers today, even Matty Godden when he came on too.

“Bakayoko lasted a long time and his fitness levels were high, he did really well tonight.

“The positive thing is we created those chances, we put ourselves in positions where we could have got the goals and it would have been nice to get that two goals cushion which would have killed the game but unfortunately it didn’t happen tonight and it was one of those nights.”

After exiting the competition, the squad’s attention now turns to league action as City host Bolton Wanderers on Saturday and Kelly believes a strong finish to the season is key to secure automatic promotion.

He said: “In the grand scheme of things I think it now puts an emphasis on the league and we need to try and go and put ourselves in the top two places.

“You are that close to winning and then it is a kick in the teeth but we move on, dust ourselves down and get ready for Saturday because it is going to be a massive league game.

“We have played a lot of the top teams away in the league this season and we have still got to bring them here where our home form this season has been fantastic and hopefully, we can continue that for the rest of the season.”

“If we keep scoring the goals we are getting, and keeping the clean sheets, there is no reason why we can’t be in the top two and that is what we are aiming for.

“The players we have in the squad all have the confidence and believe we can do that.”

On a personal note, Kelly was delighted to make his 100th appearance for the club and feels he has much more to achieve with the Sky Blues.

Kelly said: “It was a great milestone to achieve and hopefully there are plenty more to come because I have thoroughly enjoyed my time here, and I want to keep pushing the club forward to try and achieve more and more things.”


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