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Holden lauds "passionate" players after cup shock

Dean Holden emerged from a “bubbling” City dressing room to laud the players for ousting a second Premier League team from this season’s Carabao Cup competition.

Goals from Famara Diedhiou and Matty Taylor sealed the third round cup scalp of top-flight Stoke City, adding to the 3-2 success over Watford last month.

City now enter the fourth round for a second successive season, quite a feat given the club hadn’t gone past round three since 1989 previous to that.

Speaking on BCTV, assistant head coach Holden said: “Right from the first minute, there was passion out there and there was good quality all over the pitch. We had to be aggressive and not let them settle.

“We’ve created chance after chance and it was really pleasing. When called upon, Steely (Luke Steele) pulled off some great saves.

“We felt we deserved to be ahead at half-time but the message was to keep doing what we had been doing. When the chances came, we needed to be clinical.

“Matty got himself in there and Fam has gambled to head in the rebound. The good thing about Matty’s goal is that once he got in there, he did what he always does in training. It was a great finish.

“It was a great reaction from the lads on the pitch when Matty scored and the bench as well. He’s done so well to come back from the injury and it was almost like when an England player scores a century in cricket; everyone was up to applaud.

“He’s a great character and the lads love him to bits.”

WHAT HE SAID

"There was passion out there and there was good quality all over the pitch. We had to be aggressive and not let them settle."

Assistant head coach Dean Holden

RINGING THE CHANGES

City opted to make nine team changes, with only Aden Flint and Marlon Pack maintaining their place in the side from Saturday’s 4-1 win over Derby County. In comparison Stoke made just six alterations to their starting line-up.

Holden added: “The dressing room is bubbling with enthusiasm and energy, just like the performance on the pitch. The lads who came in were keen to impress and stake a claim.

“They made six team changes from the weekend and we forced them to alter to a shape they hadn’t been playing recently.

“The lads aren’t getting carried away. The gaffer has just said well done to them and they will be back in tomorrow morning to recover and get ready for Norwich.”

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THE DREAM DRAW?

City now enter the hat for the fourth round draw tomorrow night (Wednesday), with fans dreaming of another big draw.

“It was a lesser crowd from the weekend but it didn’t sound like,” added Holden.

“The singing corner never stopped, they’ve made a fantastic difference this season and they’re getting the stadium going.

“Who do we want in the next round? Well I said last time that I wanted Manchester United at Old Trafford so I’ll say it again. Without being churlish, we don’t mind who we get because we don’t fear anyone at the moment.”

NEXT UP

City return to Sky Bet Championship action this Saturday away at Norwich City, before playing next at Ashton Gate on Tuesday, September 26th against Bolton Wanderers. Tickets are now on general sale.

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