Mark Robins was “proud” of his Sky Blues side after they were agonisingly beaten on penalties by Birmingham City in the fourth round of the Emirates FA Cup on Tuesday night.
Goals from Amadou Bakayoko and Max Biamou had twice put the Sky Blues ahead only for a goal in injury-time from Harlee Dean and a goal in the final minute of extra-time from Jeremie Bela to take the game to penalties.
The home side secured a 4-1 win in the shootout, but Robins was proud of his players following a brave performance.
Robins said: “I’m proud of the players, I thought they were brilliant, they’ve come out on the wrong side of a result and we had three good chances to put the game to bed in normal time that we didn’t take which means you always run the risk.
“They had two crosses, they pushed Harlee Dean up front to try and get a goal, which they did, right at the death, in normal time, and then to concede with 30 seconds left on the clock in extra-time was poor from us.
“It was two crosses that we allowed to come into the box, and they’ve ended up going in which is tough to take, but that’s football and we have to learn our lessons from today.
“We scored two brilliant goals which were really good and well worked goals, the second one was outstanding, but we have to move on, we’re out of the cup as disappointing as that is, we’ve got 17 games to turn it into a really exciting end to the season.”
The manager also heaped praise on striker Bakayoko with the 24-year-old turning in a fine performance after opening the scoring.
“Baka’s worked his socks off and run his legs out which is what you want from him, he was focused, you could tell he was more focused than he’s been for a while and he’s got his reward.
“You learn that the work rate will lead to the goal and then after that the confidence comes and he can play like he did, he got over the ball well, he linked the play very well and Max was the same.
“We looked a threat, we looked dangerous, when you play against a Championship side like them, that are powerful, having made six changes, we’ve shown we’re still cohesive and they’ve all stepped up which is brilliant for me because we need everybody firing for the rest of the season.”
Despite the quality of the performance, Robins couldn’t hide his disappointment at the fact City failed to put the game to bed but admitted it’s a lesson his team need to learn.
“When you’ve got into great situations like we did, you’ve got to go and hit the back of the net, we’ve not really tested Lee Camp either, he made a couple of decent stops, but we got to that penalty shootout having thrown up those chances and then it’s a lottery.
“We’re just disappointed really because we’ve deserved to come out the other side of it in the right way and we haven’t managed to do it, but that’s a lesson we need to learn, take your chances, stop the cross, just work that extra little bit and it’s game over and we progress but it wasn’t to be.”