Jewell proud of side after cup defeat

A PROUD Paul Jewell watched his Ipswich Town side give Arsenal a “real run for their money” in a pulsating Carling Cup semi-final second leg tie at a packed Emirates Stadium.

Town held onto their 1-0 lead, from the first leg at Portman Road, until the Gunners bagged three unanswered goals in the final half-hour.

Goals from Nicklas Bendtner, Laurent Koscielny and Cesc Fabregas secured a 3-0 win on the night for the Premier League high-fliers, and a 3-1 aggregate victory, to book their place at Wembley against either West Ham or Birmingham.

“My players were certainly not disgraced over the two games,” said Jewell. “I thought we gave a brilliant team a real run for their money,

“We could have written the possession stats before the game, because we knew they would have all the ball.

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“We sat back and soaked it up, and we rode our luck at times. It was difficult for us to try and get forward, but I couldn’t fault the players for their efforts.

“Their work-rate and their energy was excellent. We put so much effort into the game when they had the ball that we found it difficult to make the most of it when we had the ball.

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“The most disappointing thing was the manner that we conceded the goals. The first goal certainly gave them a big lift.

“My players are disappointed in the dressing room. We knew it was going to be difficult, but we sometimes lacked that bit of belief.

“We were down on our knees and suddenly Arsenal brought on (Theo) Walcott and (Samir) Nasri as substitutes. Sometimes I think there should be a handicap in place,” added Jewell wryly.

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger paid tribute to Ipswich, for their role in the two-legged semi-final.

He said: “We’ve now played Leeds (in the FA Cup) and Ipswich, and in fairness the Championship has improved a lot.

“They don’t weaken. We have learnt from these two teams that you have to stay focused.

“You have to give credit to Ipswich because they defended with great attitude and character. We had to be patient and to make sure that we didn’t concede a goal. We didn’t get too nervous.

“It meant a lot to my players to win tonight, and this team is hungry for success.

“We kept going and refused to show any weakness.”

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