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Cheltenham boss Duff proud of players in Man City FA Cup defeat

Cheltenham Town boss Michael Duff was proud of his players after their FA Cup defeat to Manchester City.

The Robins, 72 places below City who sit second in the Premier League, threatened huge embarrassment for Pep Guardiola's side after Alfie May put Cheltenham ahead on the hour after a trademark long throw from captain Ben Tozer caused chaos in the area.

City, who made ten changes to the team that beat Aston Villa in the Premier League on Wednesday, spared their embarrassment when Phil Foden, the game's outstanding player, arrived at the far post to turn in substitute Joao Cancelo's long cross in the 81st minute.

And the turnaround was complete three minutes later when a rare moment of slackness in the outstanding Cheltenham defence, with goalkeeper Josh Griffiths superb, switched off and Gabriel Jesus scored from Fernandinho's delivery.

Ferran Torres scored Manchester City's third with the last kick of the game to give the scoreline a cruel reflection on Cheltenham's heroic efforts.

Duff said afterwards, "I'm incredibly proud.

"The players they brought on from the bench and they way they celebrated the goals tells you something. They know they've been in a game. They've done that to better teams than us."

Duff highlighted how financially important the cup run was for his club.

"It's essential," he added. "Every pound coming in is probably worth a tenner in normal times.

"These games don't come around very often. It's a shame because [with fans] the place would've been bouncing. Would that have seen us through in the last 10 minutes? I'm not so sure - but the key is to enjoy it."

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Paul Vegas

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