Matt Turner believes that once the disappointment of our cup exit to Manchester City has faded, we’ll be able to look back with some pride at the performance.
Nathan Ake’s goal just after the hour mark proved to be the decisive moment in a tightly-fought game that ultimately ended with us exiting the competition, and the American shot-stopper feels that moment was something that will provide some frustration for the squad.
However after we made six changes to our line-up and defended resolutely throughout the contest, Matt believes that are plenty of plus points from our first test against the reigning Premier League champions this season.
“We know how much the cup means to this club and the supporters and to us, so we’re really disappointed that we didn’t advance to the next round,” he said. “But there are a lot of positives to take from the performance and stuff to build on for the future.
“We didn’t really give them much for most of the game. I felt like we defended our box really well but when you give world-class players space on the edge of the box, we didn’t do enough to clear the ball afterwards.
“It’s disappointing to concede in the fashion we did, especially with some of the chances we created during the match, but we did and that’s that. We have to learn from it and continue to move forward.”
While he wasn’t forced into a major save during the contest, Matt was kept busy dealing with the threat of goal machine Erling Haaland in a sweeper-keeper role, and goes down as one of the few goalkeepers to have prevented him from scoring this season.
He puts that down to a team effort though, with Rob Holding, Gabriel and William Saliba all providing protection at the heart of defence by getting physical with the burly frontman.
On stopping the Norwegian from netting, he added: “I can’t take full credit for that. Our centre-backs did a great job - lots of man-to-man and one-on-one battles. Those guys did a really good job being physical with him and putting him off a bit.
“When I was called to sweep up behind, I was able to do that tonight. I’m proud of that - but I’d rather win and him score rather than lose and him not score.”
Matt had a front-row view of our supporters’ passionate backing of the team from the stands in the first half as they outsung their City counterparts throughout, despite the difficulties in getting to Manchester and back on a Friday night.
Matt was quick to thank our fans for their backing - not just tonight but all season - and reiterated the view from the changing room that the backing off the pitch is helping to lift performances on it.
“It’s a really good feeling – it’s reassurance that we’re doing something special at the club right now,” he revealed. ”The support we feel at Emirates Stadium and on the road is truly special. It really drives you, it keeps you going and makes away games feel like home games.
“We see the supporters and we feel them - they give us energy. We were disappointed not to give them what they deserved tonight but I want to say thank you to all of them for travelling.”
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