Hatters defender Scott Cuthbert hailed his side’s ‘outstanding’ performance as they took Premier League Stoke City all the way to penalties in the Capital One Cup on Tuesday evening.
Although it was the Potters who eventually progressed, winning the shootout 8-7, Cuthbert believes his side could take a huge amount of positives from their display.
“I’m absolutely delighted with the boys’ performance, it was outstanding.”Scott Cuthbert
He said: “It was similar to Bristol City in a sense where they had a lot of the ball. We sat there quite compact, kept a good line and they got frustrated and tried to play a lot of through balls that were going out for throw-ins, goal kicks or through to Elliott (Justham).
“That was really pleasing as I thought we looked really solid and to get the goal right at the death was really nice as we’ve suffered a few late goals recently.
“It wasn’t to be on pens, but pens is a massive lottery and you’ve got to give credit to the boys who had the bottle to stand up there and take one, as there’s only going to be one winner.
“When you’re up against a Premier League team they’re expected to come here and roll us over. We’ve just got to play with a lot of confidence and a lot of belief that we can match them.
“We did that for large periods of the game, so I’m absolutely delighted with the boys’ performance, it was outstanding.”
Although making nine changes for the tie, Stoke boss Mark Hughes made his intentions to progress clear with the likes of Peter Crouch and Bojan Krkic named in the starting line-up, while he brought on Senagalese forward Mame Biram Diouf in extra time.
Cuthbert continued: “When you’re playing against good players, they’re playing in the Premiership for a reason.
“They make it very hard for you, with real tricky situations, little holes and little pockets in between the defence and midfield.
“It makes it difficult as a defender. Do you go with them? Do you drop off?
“That was the whole night really, just second guessing yourself and luckily we had great support in the midfield from Mark O’Brien, Smudge (Jonathan Smith), Cam (McGeehan) as well, Olly Lee, too.
“In extra time, when you see a player like Diouf coming on, it’s not daunting, but it certainly keeps you on your toes that’s for sure.
“We’re delighted that against that calibre of opposition we can come out of it with our heads held high.”
Cuthbert was named captain for the night too in the absence of Steve McNulty who was on the bench, adding: “I was very honoured. Any time you’re asked to captain any side it’s a huge honour and one that you need to take the responsibility on board.
“I was absolutely delighted to be captain of that performance, thought the lads were absolutely outstanding.”.”