Capital One Cup: Nigel Clough praises battling Sheffield United after Tottenham reach final
Last Updated: 29/01/15 7:04am
Nigel Clough was left to ponder what might have been after his Sheffield United side saw their Capital One Cup final dreams dashed by Tottenham.
Spurs looked on course to coast into the Wembley final on Wednesday after Christian Eriksen's stunning first-half free-kick, but the Blades hit back as Che Adams' double in quick succession saw the visitors' first-leg lead evaporate and hand the initiative to the League One side.
Ultimately, though, Eriksen's strike two minutes from time ensured Spurs would meet Chelsea in the final and United manager Clough, while expressing pride in his squad, was left to rue a number chances they failed to convert.
"I am incredibly proud of the players for what they gave, not only for tonight but for what they’ve done over the two games," he told Sky Sports.
"To run a team like Spurs so close was brilliant, but that bit of quality they had made the difference tonight.
"I thought the chance we had with Jamie Murphy's effort cleared off the line, if that had have gone in, it would have been a different game altogether. Goals change games.
"The substitution was one of those where you've got nothing to lose with 15-20 minutes to go and you try to get a goal.
"We knew one goal would change the complexion of the game. Then we got the other one and had the chance to get the third and just missed it.
"The crowd and everyone associated with the club gave everything they had tonight."
Adams, who momentarily turned the tie on his head with his quick-fire double, was singled out by his manager for his contribution on Wednesday.
Clough, however, was disappointed with the striker's reaction in the aftermath of scoring what could well be a career-defining moment of his fledgling career.
"We're delighted with Che," Clough added. "Just think a couple of months ago he was playing a few leagues down.
"We like the look of him, he's still a little raw, he’s 18 years old but he's got a lot of potential. He's got to learn not to celebrate in the other corner when we need another goal.
"We will take a lot of positives out of tonight for the rest of the season. When we get the crowd behind us, we're a force at home. But we need to give the crowd something to get behind us."