Jones praises players after Stoke knock out Leeds on penalties
Goalkeeper Jack Butland was the hero after scoring the decisive spot-kick.
Stoke boss Nathan Jones says his players’ character shone through after they knocked Leeds out on penalties in a dramatic Carabao Cup second round tie.
The Potters led 2-0 but threw away the lead with goalkeeper Jack Butland’s error leading to one of the Whites’ goals as the tie finished 2-2.
Despite coming under pressure, City held on to take it to spot-kicks and Butland atoned for his error by scoring Stoke’s fifth penalty before Jack Harrison hit the post to send the visitors through.
“We played really well and had energy,” said Welshman Jones, who is under pressure after taking just one point from five games in the Sky Bet Championship this season.
“We weathered the storm tonight and showed great character. When Leeds pen you in, it can be difficult to get out.
“The shank kick by Jack (Butland) gave them a chance and after that we showed real character. I think their subs at the break made a difference but we defended very well. I’m proud of the boys because they showed desire and bottle. They are a brave group.”
Despite Leeds’ dominance from the start, City stunned the hosts with a two-goal salvo just before the break.
First, Stoke captain Danny Batth rose highest to nod in Sam Clucas’ corner.
Then, Tyrese Campbell’s centre picked out Sam Vokes whose scrambled finish looped in the air and trickled into the net.
Mateusz Bogusz brought a fine save out of Butland at the midway point in the second half before the England keeper dropped a clanger.
His attempted clearance hit Cameron Carter-Vickers and fell into the path of Eddie Nketiah, who beat Butland and tapped into the empty net.
Butland had to keep out a Helder Costa volley but he could not save the winger’s header which forced spot-kicks.
In an almost perfect shoot-out, Butland stepped up to score City’s final kick before Harrison struck the post.
Leeds boss Marcelo Bielsa said: “The team played better in the second half than we did in the first.
“But overall, we didn’t play with enough clarity. We played much better in the second half.
“We had a physical difference in the team after the break.”