Mark Robins: ‘If Haji Wright had cut his toenail, we wouldn’t be here talking about penalties’

Fielding questions from assembled members of the press after witnessing his side’s heartbreaking semifinal elimination from the Emirates FA Cup, via the hands of Manchester United on penalties, Coventry City manager Mark Robins heaped praise upon his side’s valiant performance, as well as crediting his opponents – especially Scott McTominay and Bruno Fernandes.

‘We showed we have gone toe-to-toe with a Manchester United side, and proved we can come back from being 3-0 down. I am really proud of what they [the players] have done. I am really pleased with the boys’ work,’ he expressed.

Addressing VAR’s recommendation to advise referee Robert Jones to rule out Victor Torp’s apparent 120th-minute winner due to Haji Wright straying millimetres offside during the build-up, Robins acknowledged that ‘if it is the right call, it is the right call. If he [Wright] had cut his toenail, we would not be here talking about penalties.’

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Robins also addressed the impact Ellis Simms has recently had at the club – despite a slow start to his career as a Sky Blues player after his summer move from Everton.

‘Well, he took a little bit of time to settle in, but with Ellis, there is a lot to come. He had a bit of a slow start, and people started doubting him, but he has been brilliant, been fantastic, as he got his head down.’

Coventry City’s first FA Cup semifinal appearance in 37 years ultimately ended in heartbreak, as the Sky Blues’ attention turns back to attempting to secure a place in the 2023/24 EFL Championship play-off picture.

The hotly-contested battle looks highly likely to now go down to the final day of the current Championship campaign – with the Sky Blues holding a potential ace in the chasing pack – with at least two games in hand on their nearest top-six rivals.