Arsenal 0-1 Blackburn Rovers
The FA Cup with Budweiser
Fifth Round Proper
3pm, Saturday 16 February 2013
The Emirates Stadium, Arsenal FC
Winning clubs receive £180,000 from The FA's Prize Fund
Click here for results
Blackburn boss Michael Appleton says their shock FA Cup Fifth Round win at Arsenal is the "highest point” of his managerial career.
Rovers have now gone six games without defeat since Appleton took over from Henning Berg five weeks ago.
The 1-0 victory at the Emirates Stadium, thanks to Colin Kazim-Richards' 72nd minute goal, was clearly something special.
And Appleton reckons it was no accident that his team inflicted on Arsene Wenger his first home defeat by lower-league opposition.
“To come to Arsenal and get a shock is one thing, but to keep a clean sheet is testament to the work-rate of the players," he said.
"We knew we had to defend crosses but we have two man-mountains in the middle.”
Appleton has been in charge of three different clubs in The FA Cup this season, Portsmouth in the First Round, Blackpool in the Third, and now Blackburn. “I hope I am Blackburn manager for the quarter-finals,” he laughed.
While former Arsenal trainee Kazim-Richards got the all-important goal, keeper Jake Kean was Blackburn's hero for a string of excellent saves as Arsenal dominated in terms of possession and chances.
“Jake is a young goalkeeper who has had his opportunity this year and has taken it with both hands,” said Appleton. “I've been impressed with his concentration. It's one thing making a reflex save, but he defended really well today.”
Kazim-Richards is on a season-long loan from Galatasaray after a much-travelled career in the lower divisions, having trained with Arsenal as a schoolboy.
The 26-year-old Turkey international grew up in nearby Leyton, and Appleton said: “Kaz has been fantastic for the last four or five games, playing up front and wide.
“We're delighted he got the rewards today. It wasn't his greatest of strikes, but he was trying to keep the ball down rather than welly it into row Z. He got the luck he deserved.”
Arsene Wenger, meanwhile, admitted: “We were not good enough to win the game, it is as simple as that. It is very painful and very disappointing to lose a game like that. What is important now is to focus on the next one.”
Arsenal are currently fifth in the Premier League and face Bayern Munich in the Champions League, with the first leg of their last 16 clash to come on Tuesday.
“It is a good opportunity to show that we have character and are men who can fight for each other. That is all you can do. You can take a distance in terms of what people say and show how strong and good you are in the next game.”
He conceded that he now has to lift his players. “It is not difficult at all - it is out job. If we feel sorry for ourselves we would be completely wrong.
"We have a massive game on Tuesday night and we have to show that we some response in the team.”
Arsenal 0-1 Blackburn Rovers