Coughlan proud of Newport’s efforts

by Jonny Stapleton
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He may have got with presented an expensive bottle of red wine from Manchester United manager Eric ten Hag but there was a stage on Sunday where Graham Coughlan thought he was set to swim in celebratory champagne.

The Dubliner and his Newport side welcomed the mighty Manchester outfit to Rodney Parade for an FA Cup fourth round tie on Sunday.

It was money spinning afternoon for the club, a massive occassion for the United supporting manager and a match that had ‘magic of the cup’ written all over it.

It was also a clash Cherry Orchard graduate Coughlan at one stage thought was going to join the list of of famous FA Cup giant killings.

When the League two outfit battled back from two nil down to level proceedings in the second half the manager felt a cupset was on the cards.

“I was dreaming at 2-2,” said Coughlan.

 “I thought we had them at 2-2. They were a bit rattled.

“We gave ourselves a mountain to climb. You can’t start like that against quality opposition.

“They were clinical, they hit us hard.

“But at 2-1 we gave ourselves a glimmer. This group of players represent me. I would never wave the white flag and that group wouldn’t either.

“It doesn’t take that – a fourth-round cup tie against United and coming down from 2-0 down to peg them back 2-2 – for me to be immensely proud of them. I love working with this group.

“They’re a brilliant group of lads.

“It’s just unfortunate we couldn’t reach our cup final, which would have been a replay at Old Trafford.”

Although he did express upset at not getting a result, Coughlan he did reveal he was immensely proud of his players.

“I’ve got a great group of lads. They’ve done themselves, their families and the club immensely proud this week,” he added.

“They represented themselves brilliantly well and I don’t want today to be the end of it – I want today to be the catalyst for the rest of the season.

“There was a lot to be pleased about. Yes there was a massive gulf in class, but I’m really proud of our lads.”

Dubliner Graham Coughlan consoles his players after defeat to Man United.

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