Mark Robins will ‘always be proud’ of Coventry whatever happens at Wembley
Coventry boss Mark Robins will be proud of his players whatever happens at Wembley after seeing them book a Sky Bet Championship play-off final with Luton.
Robins agreed a new four-year deal with the club he took over in 2017 on the eve of Wednesday night’s 1-0 semi-final, second-leg victory at Middlesbrough which kept alive their hopes of making it all the way from League Two to the Premier League.
A thrilled Robins said: “We’ve beaten Middlesbrough over two games to get to Wembley and the final, I’m really proud of the players regardless of what happens.
“They’ve all worked as hard as they possibly can, they all try their best every day, so for that, I’ll always be proud. That’s all you can do.
“Whatever happens next happens, but it won’t be for the want of trying, that’s for sure.”
Victory was sealed by the only goal of a tense 180-minute shoot-out when Gustavo Hamer fired into the top corner after City had pounced on a loose pass by Ryan Giles and Viktor Gyokeres had rounded keeper Zack Steffen.
Boro belatedly launched an all-out assault, during which substitute Matt Crooks headed home from an offside position and Cameron Archer stabbed over the crossbar, but the visitors, who have spent 22 long years outside the top division, held firm to extend their fairytale season.
Asked about Hamer’s contribution, Robins revealed he had undergone a painkilling injection before the game.
He said: “He was phenomenal. I’m surprised he didn’t faint – he had an injection in his knee before the game so he could play. I don’t know what was worse, whether it was the injury or the needle going in.
“He was brilliant. When Vik’s gone through and he’s taken it round the goalkeeper and it falls then to Gustavo, you just breathe out because he just does it every day.”
For Boro head coach Michael Carrick, an evening which promised so much ended in bitter disappointment, although he urged his players to learn from the experience.
Carrick said: “Hopefully it’s the start of something. That’s up to us to make the next step, as hard as it is right now. It’s a tough one to take, it’s a tough experience for some of the boys.
“Most of the time I’ve felt through my career in life in general the tough moments are the ones that you end up learning from and coming back stronger when you come through it, so as tough as it is now and horrible to go through – and we’ve got a lot of time to think about it over the summer – we’ve got to come back stronger.”