Newport County have produced respectful FA Cup performances in recent seasons against Premier League duo Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur.

Ryan Mason has expressed his ‘surprise’ that League Two side Newport County didn’t ‘go for it’ during their 4-1 FA Cup defeat to Manchester City on Saturday.

Mason compared Newport’s performance at the weekend to their 1-1 draw against Tottenham in the same competition last season, where he felt they were ‘in Tottenham’s faces’ on that night but didn’t take the same approach against City. 

With two minutes left on the clock, and City winning the game 2-0 at the time, Newport pulled a goal back through Padraig Amond before the away team all but ended their hopes by scoring two further goals in the dying minutes of the match.

Former Premier League midfielder Mason offered his thoughts on the Welsh clubs approach against City as he compared it to their game against Spurs at the start of 2018. 

“I never felt that they believed they had a chance,” Mason told the Final Word on talkSPORT on 17/02/2019. “The pitch was awful and I felt it was a real opportunity for them to press City and make life difficult for them.

“I remember the game last season when Tottenham played them. They were in Tottenham’s faces and it was a proper FA Cup tie. I know it is tough because the difference in the quality of players is so huge.

“I felt the pitch was a leveller to a certain extent. So, I was a bit surprised they didn’t go for them and really go for it and make it nasty.”

In January 2018, Newport caused a shock by taking Spurs to an FA Cup replay when they recorded a home draw against the Premier League side, who fielded the likes of Harry Kane, Jan Vertonghen, Eric Dier & Mousa Dembele on the night. 

Spurs had 71% in that game, 15 shots on goal to the home teams eight, but the Welsh club had more shots on target than their opponents [BBC Sport]. 

Compare that to the City game, with the Manchester club having more possession (77%), more shots (23) and more on target (10) than what Spurs managed [BBC Sport]. 

Either way, for a club of Newport’s size to go this far in the FA Cup for two seasons running and compete with some of the best teams in Europe is an achievement in itself. 

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