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Strong Rhinos tough it out
McDermott hails spirit after gritty win at Salford
Brian McDermott highlighted the mental strength of his Leeds players after they came from behind to beat Salford 16-10 on Sunday.
The Rhinos, beaten Challenge Cup finalists for the past two years, looked to be heading out before Ben Jones-Bishop and then Shaun Lunt crossed for vital scores.
And after a hard match last weekend and dreadful weather conditions, McDermott was just happy to make it through to the quarter-final draw.
"It was very tough but that's the Challenge Cup," said McDermott.
"Salford have not been in the form they would have liked in their last four games and there was always going to be a reaction to their defeat at Wakefield last week.
"The weather had a bearing and the wind was ridiculous. We invested a lot of energy against Catalan last week and there was a bit of a hangover from that.
"But I was as impressed with our mental strength today as much as at any time since I have been at the club.
"The most impressive thing was we didn't give away field position in the second half and we upped the ante."
Salford lost Chris Nero with an elbow injury and coach Phil Veivers said: "We got ourselves in a winning position at 10-6 but then we stopped playing and lost our go-forward.
"Leeds had a lot of opportunities in the first half but we scrambled well. This was a match we could have won but it wasn't to be."