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Warnock relishes Spurs scalp

ESPN staff
January 27, 2013 « Etim: Renee Forte gets punished at Wembley Arena | Chartbeat test »

Leeds manager Neil Warnock praised his team of "heroes'' as the Championship side caused an FA Cup upset with a 2-1 win over Tottenham at Elland Road.

Luke Varney and Ross McCormack scored the goals to send the Yorkshire club through to the fifth round, with Clint Dempsey's reply for the visitors not enough to spark a Spurs fightback.

"It's a fabulous performance,'' Warnock told ESPN. "It's a great day for us. The atmosphere was good, two cracking goals. There were a lot of heroes today. It was a typical FA Cup tie today.''

Wanock added: "I'll probably open a bottle of champagne tonight and have a few little tipples. I'm sure I'll be able to do something like that. I might even treat myself to a bag of crisps.''

Some Leeds fans are angry at the expected departure of leading goalscorer Luciano Becchio, but Warnock said today's display should help lift the gloom.

"We've had negative press on some of the results lately and yet we've won six on the trot at home (now seven),'' he said. "But in Leeds the glass is always half empty, it's never half full in Leeds. That might be a Yorkshire trait.''

Warnock rated the win among the best since he joined the club in February last year, saying: " It's a fabulous day for everybody,'' he said. "Not just because we won the game, but we had a few problems a few weeks ago, there was a little bit of dissent around the place.

"We go to Birmingham and nobody expected us to win and 1,500 fans followed us, and today was a thank you to them because they got behind us and we ended up winning that game, which gave us the opportunity to play Spurs.

"I really enjoyed the match. We didn't get anything other than what we deserved today and we had a few chances as well. It was a typical FA Cup game. They were like that when I was a kid. They played a strong team. To see Bale, Lennon and Parker in that team and to beat them is fabulous because we had a very young team.''

With Jermain Defoe ruled out through injury, Spurs relied heavily on wing pair Gareth Bale and Aaron Lennon but the duo rarely got any change out of Leeds full-backs Sam Byram and Aidy White.

And Warnock was full of praise for his defensive duo after seeing two of the most dangerous wingers in the game kept quiet.

"I thought Aidy and Sam got done occasionally, but they've learned so much today against top-class opposition,'' he said. It's not very often that Aaron Lennon has an ineffective game as he did today, and we handled Gareth well as well.''

Leading scorer Becchio was not involved for the hosts as a move away from Elland Road looms, but Warnock insisted the situation with his Argentinian striker had not been a distraction in the build-up.

"If I'd have thought Becchio would have been fit today or in the right frame of mind I would still have played this team,'' he said. The lads knew on Wednesday I was going to play this team.''

Varney handed Leeds the lead on 15 minutes with just his second goal of the season, and the striker was delighted to set his team off on the right foot.

"We've set out all week to be positive and we're all delighted,'' he said. "The lads grafted and we really hung on at the end, but two quality goals eventually made the win so we're delighted. I was really pleased to start us off. Just buzzing to be fair.''

Spurs manager Andre Villas-Boas admitted his side had paid the price for a sluggish first-half performance that gave Leeds all the encouragement they needed to pull off an upset.

"Leeds made the most of their opportunities,'' Villas-Boas said. "It was good to come back into the game but we maybe could have done a little better. Leeds were really up for it. We had some opportunities to go 2-2, but maybe not too clear-cut.

"Our second half was definitely better than the first, but we could have done better not to go 2-0 down. Unfortunately today we missed Defoe, who always gives us an option, through injury, but we'll have him back for the Norwich game.''

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