Crawley boss Kevin Betsy celebrated a “fantastic night” for his Tier Two contenders after he deservedly knocked Premier League side Fulham out of the Carabao Cup in a stunning 2-0 win.
Betsy, whose team sit second from bottom in the English Football League with just one point from five games, was initially concerned when she saw the quality of the Cottagers’ much-changed squad.
But goals either side of half-time from captain Tom Nichols and Liverpool loanee James Balagizi propelled the rampant hosts into the third round.
“The players did an incredible job,” said former Fulham midfielder Betsy, whose team beat League One side Bristol Rovers in the first round.
“We were relentless in our pressing and our bid. We stuck to the schedule very well. It worked. It was a fantastic evening for everyone.
“Fulham are a good side. When I looked at the squad list, I thought, ‘Oh my god, there are a lot of good players in there’.
“We’re going through a bit of a difficult phase in the league, but we’re doing quite well in the cup.”
Fulham boss Marco Silva made 10 changes for the visit to Broadfield Stadium, although his selection included a debut for £16m centre-back Issa Diop and first starts for international defenders Shane Duffy and Kevin Mbabu.
Second best from the start, the Cottagers failed to respond to Nichols’ opener in the 16th minute before England Under-19 midfielder Balagizi doubled the lead shortly after the restart.
Silva conceded that Crawley, who has won three times against top-flight opponents in the last four seasons and had already captured the scalps of Norwich and Leeds, was playing with greater desire.
“Congratulations to them,” said the Portuguese.
“From the first minute they wanted it more than us and we lost control of the game a bit and started making some mistakes, then they scored and everything was more difficult for us.
“I tried to change a few things at half-time and we started the second half in the worst possible way.
“You have to equalize these kinds of games with the same enthusiasm, the same intensity as our opponents. They wanted to agree with us and that’s a normal situation.
“We’re not talking about the attitude of my players. Sometimes it’s not always just about attitude, it’s just about running the game, knowing what happened, making the best decisions, that’s something we didn’t do optimally.”
https://www.independent.co.uk/sport/football/crawley-fulham-carabao-cup-league-two-premier-league-b2151236.html Crawley boss Kevin Betsy praises ‘fantastic night’ after stunning Fulham