A case of what might have been for Croft
CHRIS LAKEY Lee Croft may have come away from Stamford Bridge with the shirt worn by Chelsea star Frank Lampard - but he knows there should be so much more to remember from City's trip to west London.
Lee Croft may have come away from Stamford Bridge with the shirt worn by Chelsea star Frank Lampard - but he knows there should be so much more to remember from City's trip to west London.
The City winger came as close as anyone in yellow and green to getting on the scoresheet - a blocked shot on 17 minutes would have put the Canaries ahead, while at 2-0 down he had a glorious chance to set up a fascinating finale, only to be denied by the brilliance of keeper Petr Cech.
It was clearly a case of what might have been as the former Manchester City man relived his two incredible moments which had 41,000 fans with hearts in mouths.
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Chance number one came after Dickson Etuhu's left-foot shot from the edge of the area flashed back off Cech's right-hand post, right into Croft's path.
“I just looked up, saw the keeper rushing across his line and tried to put it back across him, which I thought was the right thing to do at the time,” said Croft. “I don't know who got the block on it, but it was disappointing it didn't go in.”
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The block was made by Khalid Boulahrouz - but there was no mistaking the man who foiled Croft's second attempt.
“When I had the other chance I connected well with a right-foot volley and the keeper has made a worldy save,” he added ruefully.
Croft, like other City players, was invited into the Chelsea dressing room after the game, when he met up again with big pal and former Manchester City team-mate, Shaun Wright-Phillips - although the England man wasn't in a generous mood when it came to his shirt.
“He's tight - he wouldn't give it to me,” laughed Croft. “I got Lampard's though, which is nice.”
It was one of the few post-match highlights for Croft.
“It was just disappointing, but overall I think we made a good account of ourselves,” said Croft. “I don't think it was a 4-0 game.
“But I think the lads can take the positives out of the game. The gaffer instilled into us that we were going to come here and get chances, and it was unlucky on the day they just didn't go in.
“But I am proud the lads and hopefully the fans have gone away proud as well. The fans were different class - the atmosphere, all over the country they follow us and it was great to see so many of them today. I hope they enjoyed the show, we are all disappointed we didn't win, but it was always going to be a tough ask.”
It's back to the bread and butter of the Championship, with preparations beginning this morning for tomorrow's tough trip to Preston.
“We can concentrate on the league now and we want to be further up than we are at the moment,” said Croft. “It's a disappointing league position and our full focus will be on that and hopefully we can push up to where we should be.
“It is just important we start to win games. We won two on the bounce before this and this was always going to be difficult.”