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Burnley went out of the FA Cup last night at the first time of asking, losing 1-0 at Tottenham to a goal just twelve minutes from the end of normal time.

It was an outstanding finish from Pedro Porro in a game that rarely offered much in terms of quality and entertainment but a tie that was looking increasingly likely to be brought back to Turf Moor for a replay.

When the FA Cup comes around, it’s often the time that managers turn to the players who haven’t had much game time, quite often changing most of the team. That wasn’t quite the way for us this time and certainly wasn’t for Spurs.

We made five changes, two of which were forced on us because of injury to Jordan Beyer and Sander Berge serving a one match ban. Hannes Delcroix and Josh Cullen came in for them but there were also places for Arijanet Muric, which we expected, Aaron Ramsey and Anass Zaroury who came in for James Trafford, josh Brownhill and Jóhann Berg Guðmundsson from the team beaten at Aston Villa.

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However, changes were kept to a minimum when Ange Postecoglu named his side. He’d lost both Pape Matar Sarr and Son Heung-min to the Africa Cup of Nations and Asia Cup respectively but had Dejan Kulusevski returning from injury who came in along with Oliver Skipp in what would probably be described as the strongest team they could have fielded.

For much of the first half we looked comfortable and with our two central defenders in fine form, Spurs struggled to create much of note. They had plenty of possession but didn’t often look as though they were going to grab the initiative.

Muric made one save from Brennan Johnson but generally we looked in control defensively with Josh Cullen offering an excellent protection role in front of our back line.

The one big chance of the half fell our way. A well worked move saw Zeki Amdouni play the ball to Zaroury just outside the box and then go for a return which Zaroury chipped into him. He’d got in front of the defenders and looked to have the simplest of chances before getting a bad touch which left him unable to get a good shot in and his effort went over the bar.

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He might have been somewhat relieved to see the assistant referee’s flag go up for offside but had it gone in it would have counted. The VAR officials would have seen that two and maybe even three Spurs players were playing him onside.

All square at half time and with it came a change. Lyle Foster had suffered what has been reported as a foot injury but it wasn’t Jay Rodriguez, the one striker on the bench, who came on but Jacob Bruun Larsen. It was much the same pattern as the first half with Spurs having more of the play and there were a couple of short spells when I feared they might get a goal.

They didn’t and for the most part, I thought we were heading for a Turf Moor replay. We made more changes. Just before the hour, Brownhill came on for Odobert and with almost three quarters of the game gone, a shoulder injury to Charlie Taylor saw him replaced with Ameen Al-Dakhil coming on. What was a surprise, given we would have had one further substitution slot to come, was making a triple substitution meaning with what proved to be half an hour still to go, we’d made all our changes.

Then came the goal and it all started with Burnley winning a free kick on the left which Brownhill took. He found O’Shea who headed it into the Spurs box and it took them three attempts to clear but when they did it left Dejan Kulusevski charging down the right wing. Richarlison first tried to get a head on his cross, then he failed to get hold of it with his feet, finally allowing Muric to gather.

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Danger averted? Not quite. Muric threw the ball out quickly to Amdouni who gave it away to Porro. The Spurs full back moved forward a few paces before hitting an unstoppable effort into the far corner. It was a brilliant goal, absolutely no doubt about that, but should Muric have been throwing out the ball to Amdouni so quickly when we had six of our own outfield inside our own penalty box? And surely Amdouni should not have conceded possession so easily.

Suddenly, what looked to be heading towards a draw had changed to us chasing a goal to avoid going out of the cup. For much of the remaining minutes of the game and then into the seven minutes stoppage time added, an equaliser didn’t look very likely, that was until right at the end when we got that once chance we were waiting for.

A left wing cross found Delcroix. The defender couldn’t get a good shot in but it did deflect from a corner on the right. Up went Muric for a second time and this time he played his part, winning the header from the corner to find Amdouni who could only shoot wide of goal.

That brought the final whistle from referee Sam Barrott and our exit from this season’s FA Cup and I must make mention of the referee. This is the third time he’s refereed us since October and he’s impressed me with his approach and his apparent calmness although at least this time, unlike at Bournemouth, he didn’t have to stand there helpless for an eternity while the VAR officials tried to draw lines. I’ve been impressed with him.

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As for the cup exit, I’m gutted. I’m of an age when this competition was massive, when it was more prestigious to win it than to win the league. I was at Wembley in 1962 when these two same teams met and I’ve dreamt of returning there one day to see us play in another final.

Having said that, I wasn’t there last night, choosing not to attend an FA Cup tie by choice for the first time since the 1960s. But it means another year of waiting and to concentrate on the league as managers right across the country will tell you when their team has been knocked out.

We can look back on another performance when, as at Aston Villa a week ago, we competed more than well against one of the top teams in the country at their ground. That’s a big positive; we are improving as has been shown in many recent games.

We now need that improvement to continue in the league starting with Luton which, currently, is scheduled for a week on Monday although that will change should Luton draw their FA Cup tie tomorrow.

No Wembley for me and the Clarets again this year, but I’ll keep hoping.

The teams were;

Tottenham: Guglielmo Vicario, Pedro Porro, Emerson Royal, Ben Davies, Destiny Udogie, Oliver Skipp (Pierre-Emile Højbjerg 77), Rodrigo Bentancur (Jamie Donley 83), Dejan Kulusevski, Giovani Lo Celso (Bryan Gil 58), Brennan Johnson (Ryan Sessegnon 83), Richarlison (Dane Scarlett 83). Subs not used: Fraser Forster, Micky van de Ven, Ashley Phillips, Alfie Dorrington.
Yellow Card: Bryan Gil.

Burnley: Arijanet Muric, Vitinho, Dara O’Shea, Hannes Delcroix, Charlie Taylor (Ameen Al-Dakhil 67), Anass Zaroury (Mike Trésor 67), Josh Cullen, Aaron Ramsey (Nathan Redmond 67), Wilson Odobert (Josh Brownhill 58), Zeki Amdouni, Lyle Foster (Jacob Bruun Larsen ht). Subs not used: Lawrence Vigouroux, Connor Roberts, Jack Cork, Jay Rodriguez.
Yellow Cards: Josh Cullen, Mike Trésor.

Referee: Sam Barrott (West Yorkshire).

Attendance: 60,982.
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