In the aftermath of their FA Cup exit, Wolverhampton Wanderers players and manager Glenn Hoddle have spoken of their disappointment with Sunday’s defeat.
But an FA Cup run was only ever going to be icing for the cake. The main objective for all is still attaining Premiership status.
' Maybe sometimes the FA Cup can be something of a distraction.
'Even though we would have liked a run in it my priority is to get promoted and that has to be our priority now.'
'The heads are down in the changing room but we'll soldier on because we've got a big game at Leicester on Saturday and we've got to look forward to trying to get promoted.” said captain Ince.
Most fans feel that the result was always inevitability, but many were disappointed with the nature of Wolves capitulation. Defensive frailty crept back into their game against the wrong opponents and Wolves were made to pay dearly.
'The last thing you want to do against United is to concede early and all three goals we let in were poor. We could have cut them out at source.” Glenn Hoddle said after the game, clearly unhappy with his sides defensive display.
For Wolves, the timing of United’s goals couldn’t have been worse. An early opener, one just before half time, and one soon after gave Wolves a mountain to climb, and they never really got further than base camp. As Hoddle pointed out.
'They scored at three key moments, five minutes in, a minute before half-time and five minutes after half-time. That is the worst time to concede.
'At 1-0 in a Cup tie you think 'let's get to half-time rally the troops and go for it.' But the second goal really killed the tie off. It was a poor one from a defensive point of view at that stage of the half.”
Wolves goalkeeper Stefan Postma was even more to the point.
'If you've got quality players like Manchester United they can threaten to score in every attack but we're disappointed about the goals we gave away. They are a team you don't want to gift a goal to, and we gifted them three.' said Postma
'Even after conceding, I think we got back into it before half-time and were making a game of it. Then we conceded another silly goal and any team is going to have trouble coming back from 2-0 down at halftime against Manchester United.” he added.
Wolves second half display was far better than the first. The addition of Colin Cameron and Mark Davies adding greater urgency and directness to their game.
But as Wolves fought hard to gain a foothold in the match, United struck for the third time and the result was sealed beyond all doubt.
'We came out of the traps better in the second half, but they got the third goal which really killed us off, and even though we played some good stuff after that we couldn't even get a consolation.' Said Postma
But like Paul Ince, Stefan is realistic regarding Wolves FA Cup exit and is looking forward to the season’s play off run-in.
'The FA Cup is a treat for everybody, but we have to get ourselves involved in the promotion race in the league,' he admitted.
'That's the main goal and if we can start to put a run together I think the teams above us might get nervous.'
Fans may be still feeling the after effects of the weekend’s loss, but it has to be remembered it was not to a team of no hopers. Nor was it to a team of United second stringers, as Paul Ince was at pains to point out.
' Sir Alex (Ferguson) gave us a lot of respect by fielding a strong team because we don't get beaten many times at Molineux.”
Something worth bearing in mind when assessing the loss in the cold light of day.
Cup exits are never nice events, no matter what stage in the competition they come.
But the hysteria generated by this one in some quarters is enough to make casual observers think the Cup was Wolves only goal.
So just in case anyone needed reminding, the last word goes to Paul Ince who reiterated where Wolverhampton Wanderers priority lies.
“We may have gone out of the Cup but the dream hasn't gone - our main target is the league.”