Tottenham 'apologise to fans' after embarrassing FA Cup exit

League Two Grimsby Town beat Premier League Southampton to reach quarter-finals for first time since Second World War

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Tottenham Hotspur assistant head coach Cristian Stellini apologised to the club’s fans after they were dumped out of the FA Cup by Sheffield United.

Blades substitute Iliman Ndiaye’s second-half strike clinched the tie for the Championship promotion-chasers to set up a home quarter-final tie against Blackburn Rovers.

Tottenham’s wait for a major trophy continues – they won the League Cup in 2008 – and they have now exited the FA Cup at the fifth-round stage three times in the last four years.

Head coach Antonio Conte missed his side’s latest exit as he recovers from gallbladder surgery and Stellini said: “I think we missed a big opportunity and we have to apologise to the fans.

“There were 5,000 of them here to watch our performance and we apologise because we missed a big opportunity.”

The closest Tottenham came to scoring was in the first half through Lucas Moura’s cross-shot which skimmed the bar, while 65th-minute substitute Harry Kane headed Ivan Perisic’s stoppage-time cross wide.

Stellini made six changes after Sunday’s win against Chelsea and revealed England captain Kane had been struggling with illness. The Italian insisted it was the right decision to start with Kane on the bench at Bramall Lane.

“It is not a regret,” Stellini said. “We need to look in the medium period, we have many games.

“Harry Kane played in the last six games, one time with fever, one time with a problem. We have to take care of our best player.

“It’s not about Harry [the defeat] because we played with Richarlison, Lucas Moura and Sonny [Son Heung-min].

“I think it is good enough to play in this competition and against this sort of team.”

Grimsby's Gavan Holohan, right, celebrates with his teammates after scoring his side's second goal against Southampton. AP Photo

Southampton 1-2 Grimsby Town

Paul Hurst hailed his history makers after Grimsby reached the FA Cup quarter-finals with a shock 2-1 success over Premier League strugglers Southampton.

Gavan Holohan converted two penalties at St Mary’s to fire the League Two visitors into the last eight of the competition for the first time since the Second World War.

Duje Caleta-Car pulled one back for the top-flight’s bottom side but Town held on for a memorable victory to the delight of more than 4,200 travelling fans, setting up a trip to Brighton & Hove Albion in the next round.

The south-coast upset ensured the Mariners became the first team to defeat five teams from higher divisions in a single FA Cup campaign.

Manager Hurst, who guided the club to promotion from the National League through the play-offs last term, revealed there were some stunned faces in the dressing room.

“They deserve to have maybe more celebrations than what they will get,” he said of his squad, who travel to Carlisle on Saturday.

“There’s quite a bit of the group that enjoyed that experience of winning promotion and getting back in the league.

“They did enjoy it in the dressing room. Looking around at a few of their faces, they were in shock, probably very tired as well.

“But there were a few songs and a bit of music. I’m just pleased for them.

“It’s a memory for them, for the owners, for the supporters and we go down in history because of the way we’ve got to the quarter-finals.”

Burnley's Connor Roberts, centre, goes to shake hands with Fleetwood Town's Lewis Warrington. PA

Burnley 1-0 Fleetwood Town

Vincent Kompany is looking forward to an emotional return to Manchester City after a late Connor Roberts goal put Championship leaders Burnley into the last eight of the FA Cup for the first time in 20 years.

A few minutes after snatching a 1-0 win over Fleetwood at Turf Moor, the quarter-final draw handed Burnley a match-up against Kompany’s old boss Pep Guardiola and a club he captained to four Premier League titles and two FA Cups.

“It’s a double feeling to be honest,” Kompany said. “My ties are extremely strong with the club and that remains. The kids will have a tough decision to make on the day but it’s one we are looking forward to.

“We’ve got a few games now which are more important, which is every Championship fixture between that game and now but it will be a special day. I think for the players, this is an experience and they’ve earned the right to look forward to such a game.”

When City fixtures do not clash with Burnley, Kompany regularly takes his kids to a stadium where his statue stands outside. A warm reception will surely await off the pitch but not on it.

“From my side, I’m really calm about it,” Kompany added. “I know that past the hugs and the high fives there is a machine there that wants to win everything. We’ll focus first on the Championship games and then give it the right place it deserves.”

Updated: March 02, 2023, 6:44 AM