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July 10 2020 8.19pm

Players showed true grit says Francis

January 27 2003

Trevor Francis

Trevor Francis

Trevor Francis was delighted with his players after they put in a gritty performance to hold Liverpool to a 0-0 draw in the FA Cup third round.

He said: "I have got to be pleased with the way the players performed. They applied themselves well. I think Liverpool have come off knowing they have been in a tough cup tie.

"All in all I think we have done ourselves proud. What you have seen today is a team full of spirit and a great attitude.

"We have made ourselves tough to beat and I hope that for the replay we have one or two players back to fitness so we may be a bit stronger.

Francis added: "I realise that we have thrown away our best chance of winning the tie, but I was rather pleased with our performance.

"We concentrated well, something you have to do when you face players like Owen and Heskey. I thought our defence was excellent but it wasn't just about determination. At times I thought some of our football was sparkling."

He praised defender Hayden Mullins man-of-the-match display: "He can play at the back in his suit. He is an outstanding player.

"Whether he is in midfield or at the back, he always gives a top performance."

Gerard Houllier was impressed with the way Crystal Palace played. He said: "We knew it would be difficult at Crystal Palace and it was. We had to work hard, defend well and withstand a lot of pressure.

"They are an impressive side, good enough on the evidence of yesterday's match to play in the Premiership.

"They have quality in their squad, they're tactically aware and they play a hard but fair game."

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