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Martinez urges Swans league push

Roberto Martinez applauds the Swansea fans after their 2-1 cup defeat at Fulham
Roberto Martinez's managerial stock has risen after Swansea's FA Cup run

Roberto Martinez has told his Swansea City side to use their FA Cup heroics to inspire the club into the Championship play-offs.

Swansea's impressive cup run was ended by Premier League Fulham who came from behind to beat Martinez's men 2-1 in a fifth round replay at Craven Cottage.

"Our performance deserved more than defeat but we have learned a lot from this cup run," Martinez told BBC Sport.

"We must learn from the experience and take it into our league campaign."

Swansea have won many admirers on their FA Cup adventure which included beating holders Portsmouth 2-0 in the fourth round.

They held Fulham in the original fifth-round tie at the Liberty Stadium and led against Roy Hodgson's team on Tuesday thanks to Jason Scotland's strike.

But Fulham, who have only lost once at home all season, were rescued thanks to late goals from Clint Dempsey and Bobby Zamora.

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And Swans boss Martinez, who marked two years in charge being the gallant cup loser, put his club's achievements into immediate perspective.

"I am really proud of our development as a club because nine months ago we were playing League One football," he said.

"Now we're playing Fulham, with the second best home record in the Premier League, and we were ourselves.

"I was extremely proud of our players, of their approach to the game and there was a good arrogance about our play.

"But we need to be realistic as we are Championship club and now our focus must be on the league and seeing this football club progress further.

"Everyone will agree that we played better than Fulham in three of the four halves of football in this tie.

Leon Britton
They've got quality internationals on the bench, have a great home record and are in the top ten of the Premier League but the players are still disappointed - that shows how far we have come as a club

Swansea midfielder Leon Britton

"We have done it the right way, played with style and haven't tried to stop Fulham play. We kept the ball well and put them under massive pressure.

"The disappointment the players are feeling is a little cruel but if we want to progress and play against teams like Fulham week in and week out, we need to do well in the league."

Fulham's Welsh midfielder Simon Davies hailed Swansea's approach, admitting after their win: "We were lucky to get a replay.

"We have nothing but respect for Swansea and hope to see them in the Premier League next year."

Swansea, last year's League One champions, are just a point outside the Championship play-off zone following an impressive run of just one defeat in 15 league games.

Midfielder Leon Britton was in the Swans side that survived dropping into non-league on the final game of the 2002/03 season by beating Hull City 4-2.

And the 26-year-old Swansea midfielder is aware how far the Welsh club has come in a relatively short space of time.

"We held our own against Fulham," Britton acknowledged.

"But after we took the lead, we just didn't seem to play our normal football and it gave them an edge.

"They've got quality internationals on the bench to bring on, have a great home record and are in the top ten of the Premier League so it is no disgrace losing here.

"But the players are still disappointed - that shows how far we have come as a club."




see also
Hodgson happy after 'cracking Cup tie'
24 Feb 09 |  Football
Davies 'respects' beaten Swans
24 Feb 09 |  FA Cup
Fulham set to face Man Utd in Cup
25 Feb 09 |  FA Cup
Fulham 2-1 Swansea
24 Feb 09 |  FA Cup
Swansea 1-1 Fulham
14 Feb 09 |  FA Cup
Martinez boss of year - Toshack
06 Feb 09 |  Swansea
Portsmouth 0-2 Swansea
24 Jan 09 |  FA Cup
BBC Sport Wales coverage
03 Oct 11 |  Wales


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