Michael Flynn declared himself the ‘proudest manager in the country’ after his Newport County team drew 1-1 against Harry Kane’s Spurs at Rodney Parade.
County have earned a replay at Wembley Stadium and Flynn believes the FA Cup run could be worth more than £700,000 to a club whose annual turnover is £2.2m.
Almost 10,000 spectators watched a pulsating fourth round tie in which Newport led thanks to a Padraig Amond goal before Kane equalised with seven minutes left.
Flynn was full of praise for Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino and said: “Mauricio is a class act, a class manager.
“Harry Kane is one of the best in the world for a reason. But why shouldn’t we go to Wembley with confidence?
“Josh Labadie was outstanding. He’s a little disappointed because he was supposed to be marking Kane.”
Flynn admits when he saw the Tottenham team sheet he was shocked, saying: “I nearly hid under the table when I saw the players they were putting out.
“I was devastated at the end, but Mauricio is a class act. He shook hands and congratulated us on our performance.”
Newport now have to refocus and prepare for their League Two match at Lincoln City on Tuesday, while Spurs are playing Manchester United at Wembley Stadium on Wednesday.
“My boys will go again at Lincoln,” said Flynn. “They will recover and go again, because they never know when they are beaten.”
Pochettino praised County:”They were fantastic. Credit to them.
“We are happy because we stayed in the competition and the pitch as an excuse. We were aware of it and knew how Newport play. “They have quality and it was hard to match their level in the first half. They had so much motivation and fight that it was difficult.
“Our team did not show we really wanted to go the next stage of the FA Cup and that disappointed me a lot.
“It’s easy to talk about wanting to win things, but we missed a massive opportunity. If you do not fight then Premier league team, league two team. I didn’t see much difference.
“This competiton is magic. I am not saying we were not motivated, but we weren’t as motivated as before.
“Yes, we increased our level, but I don’t see why we had to wait until the end of the game before he started to fight.”
Pochettino knows the job Flynn has done for Newport and insists: “He’s an extremely good manager and has changed the circumstances of the club completely.
“They now have the opportunity to go to Wembley and deserve to have that experience.
“I miss that part of football. It is pure passion. All their team impressed me. They were so, so good and showed a fantastic physical level.
“We all need to learn from this type football and become more responsible. If we are clever we will learn from it.”
Despite being 72 places below Tottenham in the football pyramid, Newport deserved to be in front at a loud and proud Rodney Parade thanks to Amond’s first-half header.
County were only seven minutes away from causing one of the biggest upsets in the history of the competition after Amond headed in Robbie Willmott’s cross on 38 minutes.
Labadie dispossessed Kyle Walker-Peters and the resulting throw-in fell to Willmott, whose cross picked out Amond. He lost marker Kieran Trippier and headed into the corner.
The equaliser came when Heung-Min Son flicked on a cross and Kane was presented with a simple goal from a few yards.
County are in the fifth round draw on Monday after setting up in a 4-3-3 formation against Spurs’ 3-1-4-2.
There is no question County deserved a replay after taking control in the first half and giving Spurs major reasons to worry about going out of the FA Cup.
Newport will relish the replay. That is going to be a wonderful day out for Exiles’ fans.
Newport County: Day, Pipe, White, Demetriou, Bennett, Butler, Willmott, Labadie, capt (Dolan 83), Tozer, Nouble, Amond (McCoulsky 74). Subs not used: Bittner, Reid, O’Brien, Sheehan, Hayes.
Tottenham Hotspur: Vorm, Walker-Peters (Son 45), Vertonghen, Foyth, Trippier, Dier, Dembele (Davies 81), Wanyama, Sissoko, Llorente (Alli 65), Kane (capt). Subs not used: Gazzaniga, Sanchez, Amos, Georgiou
Referee: Roger East
Attendance: 9,836 (1649 away).