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DOWNING UPBEAT AFTER "TOUGH" CHELSEA TIE

25 September 2015

Defender encouraged by his side's performance...

CENTRE-BACK Paul Downing believes the Saddlers can take plenty of heart from Wednesday’s League Cup defeat against holders Chelsea.

Goals from Ramires and Loic Remy put the Blues in control, before James O’Connor halved Walsall’s deficit on the stroke of half-time.

Second-half strikes from Kenedy and Pedro secured a flattering 4-1 victory for the Premier League champions.

But despite the final result, Downing was encouraged by his side’s performance.

“It was very tough,” said Downing.

“We all knew it was going to be a very tough game and it was exactly what we got.

“They started really well; they kept the ball away from us, had the constant movement of Falcao in behind, and got the early goal.

“But after that we grew into the game, started knocking it around, picked up second balls, got some dangerous crosses in and created some chances.

“To get the goal before half-time was a massive lift for us and I thought we deserved it because we more than matched them at times.

“It was an exciting cup tie.

“We can definitely learn from this and we want to improve as a team and as individuals.

“They’re the benchmark in our country and everyone will have taken little bits from what they do and we can try to take that into our game.”

The Saddlers host Steve Davis’ Crewe at the Banks’s tomorrow and Downing is hopeful that we can continue our fine form in the league.

“The league is our main priority,” said Downing.

“Chelsea was a great tie for us and one we thoroughly enjoyed, but we’ll now focus on Crewe.

“They got a good win last weekend and will be full of confidence. They’re a good team and play the right way so it should be a good game.

“But we want to start well and carry on from where we left off against Doncaster in our last home (league) game.”

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