City's FA Cup hero Arturo Lupoli did his very best to toe the diplomatic line after yesterday's goal heroics at The Valley.
He had, after all, made his point in the best possible fashion with that 71st minute leveller.
That after the better part of three months in the first team wilderness and Friday's 'Play me or I'm away…' speech, cometh the moment, cometh the man as the 21-year-old on-loan Italian demonstrated his penalty box predatory instincts again and kept Norwich's name in the fourth round hat after Jonjo Shelvey's first-half opener threatened to make it yet another miserable away-day for the under-pressure Glenn Roeder.
In the event, he and 3,200 travelling Canary supporters had Lupoli to thank for a replay back at Carrow Road on January 13 by when Lupoli's hopes of earning himself a place in City's starting line-up might have been answered when City travel to Sheffield United next weekend – and all without the suspended Darel Russell.
Was he now hopeful of making the starting XI after bagging his fifth strike of the season to keep the likewise struggling Addicks on their worst run of form in 55 years?
Yesterday's 1-1 draw extended their winless run to 17 games. Already the home punters are voting with their feet – a paltry 9,000 turned up for this weekend's FA Cup clash.
“I hope so,” he said simply, not hint of either an ultimatum or a gauntlet being delivered.
“I always hope to start in the eam, but now we go back to Colney training centre and we build up the week and, hopefully, we start to win a game of football again.”
Roeder could, of course, put Wes Hoolahan in that little hole off Antoine Sibierski; just because Russell is suspended is likely to cut little ice. Hoolahan was excellent in those second 45 minutes as Matty Pattison and Elliot Omosuzi were hauled off at the break.
Minus Leroy Lita – linked this morning to switches to either Everton or Newcastle United in a ?350,000 January deal – and with Jamie Cureton being told he can stay put in Barnsley, the thought was that Lupoli would start yesterday – only for Roeder to again go with the stand-in Russell.
“I thought I was starting, honestly,” said Lupoli, who like everyone else had done a body count around the dressing room with both Simon Lappin and teenager Koey Smith finding their way to the bench.
“But when I came in I was just focussing on my 20 minutes – and it went well for me and for the team. So I'm very pleased for this,” he said.
He also made a point of running half the length of the pitch to celebrate his strike with the travelling faithful – a mutual appreciation society up and running.
“I think there were almost 3,000 fans who had travelled down to London and they deserve much better than what they have been getting over the last two or three weeks.
“And I know that they are supporting us even if we are not getting results so I think it was a good chance to give our thanks for that,” said Lupoli, proving something of a dab hand at the PR game.
The goal changed the course of the content at The Valley, whether is changes Roeder's mind about a start for Lupoli slap bang up the middle of the team is increasingly the $64 million question.
“I'm very pleased with that goal – very important for me and the team,” said Lupoli. Credit where credit was due – Mark Fotheringham, the excellent Hoolahan and Sibierski all played their part in the neat, build-up to the Italian's crucial strike.
It was, however, still pretty much his own work thereafter as he drifted into a turn in the inside-left channel before firing low and true inside the keeper's right upright. Cool, calm and very measured, it was the kind of finish that first brought the one-time Italian boy-wonder to Arsene Wenger's attention at Arsenal some six years ago.
It is also why Serie A giants Fiorentina were prepared to slap a four-year deal in front of him in the summer of 2007.
“It will give us the chance to play at Carrow Road which is a better pitch,” Lupoli added. “And we will get a good result, I think.”
He could have settled teh tie altogether before the end – stabbing a late effort just wide from another piece of decent link-up play with Sibierski.
“It was a good chance,” he admitted. “Me and Sibi [Sibierski] played a one-two and I hit the ball a bit wide, but it was a very good chance to make the result 2-1. Unfortunately, I didn't.”
He just had to settle for the one. Yes, it's good anyway… Very good.”