Lincoln City manager Danny Cowley believes it’s time to celebrate his side’s historic FA Cup run after falling to a 5-0 loss to Arsenal at the Emirates.
Goals by Theo Walcott, Olivier Giroud, Aaron Ramsey, Alexis Sanchez and an own goal by captain Luke Waterfall ended the Imps’ historic run.
City were the first non-league side to play in the quarter-finals of the competition for 103 years and Imps boss Cowley has said it’s time to appreciate the journey his side have been on.
Cowley said: “We never celebrate losing and I’m never going to be happy to lose, but this feels like the right time to celebrate this moment with the players.”
“I think this cup has massively accelerated the progress, it’s given us a massive fast track and it’s allowed us to test our method against some of the best players and managers.
“We’ve learned so much about ourselves, we’ve seen all of our weaknesses and now it’s up to us and we go away and learn from all of them.
“If we can do that, and take something from playing against world-class players, we’ll be better footballers and people for it.”
City did have a chance to take the lead in the first half, as winger Nathan Arnold forced an outstanding save by ‘keeper Petr Cech, and Cowley believes that moment could’ve been the turning point.
“I think we knew we’d have limited moments. When you play like a team like this, you need to try and take your chances,” Cowley said.
“I think Nathan (Arnold) did brilliant, he could’ve snatched it, but he had the calmness to step inside and if it’s in the National League he scores that.”
As the journalists and media laugh at Cowley’s humorous comment, he also took time to reflect on the near 9,000 Lincoln City fans who made the journey to London.
He said: “I did a disservice the other day saying our fans are Premier League standard.”
“Today, you witnessed world-class supporters, 9,000 City fans out singing 51,000 Arsenal supporters for 90 minutes, that was world-class.
“The players also appreciated the Arsenal fans staying behind and applauding them off, they were class as well.”
Despite the result, Cowley then finally revealed how him and his brother Nicky would be spending their evening.
“Me and Nicky are off to have a coke with Arsene Wenger!”