Leeds United 2 Tottenham Hotspur 1: Warnock hails ‘heroic’ FA Cup win

Leeds' Paul Green closes down Spurs' Tom Huddlestone
Leeds' Paul Green closes down Spurs' Tom Huddlestone
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Leeds United manager Neil Warnock praised his team of “heroes” as the Whites 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 Whites 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.”

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 Luciano Becchio was not involved for the hosts as a move away from Elland Road looms, but Warnock admitted 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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