There is certainly no disgrace in losing over two legs to arguably the greatest team in Europe right now. And there’s certainly no shame when you’re a Championship side that had to beat four Premier League teams just for the right to play Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City.
On top of that though, Bristol City didn’t just make up the numbers – they’ve come as close as any top flight team, excepting Liverpool, to beating the Citizens this season. The difference over the two legs was just two stoppage time goals.
Indeed, as they met in the second leg of the League Cup semi-final last night, the Robins produced yet another valiant performance against the Premier League leaders, one that not only required the defensive organisation to slow down one of the most rampant attacks ever witnessed in the Premier League but also the bravery and quality to cause problems for them at the other end.
Integral to that was centre-back Aden Flint. The 28-year-old centre-back has already earned plaudits from Leeds United fans for last night’s performance and it’s not hard to see why after getting on the scoresheet for the seventh time this season, including the most Championship goals, six, of any defender in the division. While the responsibility of scoring goals doesn’t ultimately rest with the centre-half, his late goal was testament to the leadership, determination and desire Flint possesses to make an impact in such a high-profile game, against high-quality opponents.
That was evident in Flint’s defensive display too, making a vital difference in his own box as well. Although City scored three times, the 6 foot 5 defender put up an impressive rearguard; winning the most aerial duels and making the most clearances of any Robins player while blocking one shot from the visitors.
Contrast that with a Leeds side which has conceded more than one goal per game in the Championship this season and lacked the character to see out a 3-2 comeback against Millwall last weekend, and it’s easy to understand why Whites supporters are so keen for their club to sign the towering centre-half.