Ferguson takes heart from Doncaster Rovers’ Emirates adventure

Doncaster Rovers' James Coppinger holds the ball to restart the match after Arsenal's Theo Walcott (right) scores his side's first goal of the game (Pictures: PA)

Darren Ferguson hailed his Doncaster Rovers side for not being afraid of Arsenal in the Carabao Cup third-round tie at the Emirates on Wednesday night.

Theo Walcott scored the only goal of the night as the Gunners dominated large periods without adding to their 1-0 lead.

Arsenal's Olivier Giroud in acrobatic action against Doncaster Rovers (Picture: PA)

Ferguson led Doncaster into the game on the back of just one win in Sky Bet League One so far this season.

But, after seeing his side hang on against Arsenal’s early assault before pushing for a dramatic equaliser late on, the former Peterborough boss was pleased with their efforts.

READ MORE - Richard Sutcliffe’s big-match verdict from the Emirates

“I’m proud of the players,” he said.

We created chances - the deflected shot and the one that hit the bar - and we stayed in the game for as long as we could.

Darren Ferguson

“In a cup match you need a bit of luck but it was a fantastic learning curve in terms of concentration for my players.

“When you are a lower league team playing a team from the top level the opening 20 minutes can be difficult and I felt we were getting through that when Walcott scored.

“We created chances - the deflected shot and the one that hit the bar - and we stayed in the game for as long as we could.”

Ferguson’s father, former Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson, watched on from the stands as part of a record-low Emirates Stadium attendance.

Wenger revealed he had invited his former rival along to watch the contest.

“I invited him tonight,” he said.

“Sport is very good in that you fight against each other and with respect. He was a big personality in the Premier League.”

Arsenal will host Norwich in round four as Wenger seeks to win the competition for the first time.

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