IT was a proud Gary Bowyer who faced the media after his side held FA Cup favourites Manchester City to a 1-1 draw in this afternoon’s FA Cup third-round tie between the teams at Ewood Park.

Bowyer said: “It was an absolutely phenomenal effort from our lads playing against a world-class team.

“We always knew it was going to be a very difficult challenge but you could see the spirit that they have and the character they are developing.

“It’s a young squad that is improving but you could see the unity they have together.

“That has been important for us throughout the season.

“I have nothing but pride and praise for them.”

City manager Manuel Pellegrini said: “They had a lot of motivation and that is normal when you have a Championship team playing against a Premier League team.

“I’m not disappointed. Of course, everyone wants to win all of the games but we were playing against a very strong team at home.

“I am sure if they played like that in the Championship they would be in another position in the table.

“I would be disappointed if we lost and were out of the FA Cup but we are not out and we must play at home.”

The replay will take place at City’s Etihad Stadium home on Wednesday, January 15 (7.45pm).

For a full reaction – including that of returning Rovers goalkeeper Paul Robinson – see Monday’s Lancashire Telegraph.