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Cup hero Don: Wolves’ big-game mentality can topple United

Don Goodman believes Wolves’ big-game mentality is the key to causing an FA Cup upset and toppling Manchester United.

Goodman was the last player to fire Wolves into the semi-finals when his famous goal in 1998 saw them beat Leeds 1-0 at Elland Road.

The former striker, now 52 and a Sky Sports summariser on the Championship, admits they face a resurgent United under interim boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

But he acknowledges his old club are well suited to facing the top teams, having taken four points off Chelsea, won away at Tottenham, drawn at United and Arsenal and at home against Manchester City, and knocked Liverpool out of the Cup this season.

I don’t think anyone would say I’m being cruel if I say Manchester United are favourites to win the game, but only 60-40 in my opinion,” said Goodman.

I think they’re the kind of team that Wolves have been thriving against. Wolves’ biggest strength is their counter attacking, and it may be that they have to play that way against United, if United get on to the front foot.

So fingers crossed that Wolves can do it.

There’s a fighting chance for sure, no doubt, and if they win, it will be a fantastic achievement for everybody at the club.

It would also reward for taking the FA Cup semi-seriously, unlike a lot of teams.”

Sunday’s 2-0 defeat at Arsenal was only United’s second in 18 games since Solskjaer replaced Jose Mourinho in December.

Goodman believes the Red Devils will come to Molineux firing on all cylinders as they look to progress in the competition they realistically have most chance of winning this season.

We’ve got to acknowledge there has been a massive improvement in Manchester United’s performances under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer,” said Goodman.

Credit to them for that, because he has given them their mojo back. They already had good players who were a little bit flat and under performing, and he’s getting the best out of them, and he’s doing it with a smile on his face. I think that’s fundamentally important.”

Goodman knows all about upsets. Twenty-one years ago, he was part of one as Wolves, then ninth in the Championship (then First Division), managed to beat Leeds, who went on to finish fifth in the Premier League that season, as Mark McGhee’s underdogs clinched a semi-final against Arsenal at Villa Park.

It was a fairytale for Leeds-born Goodman, who coolly dinked the ball over Nigel Martyn with eight minutes left after Carl Robinson split the home defence.

The drama wasn’t over and loan keeper Hans Segers became an instant Wolves hero for saving Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink’s late penalty after he was fouled by substitute and future Leeds star Robbie Keane.

There were lads who perhaps had better games than me, but the goalscorers get the glory,” recalled Goodman, who scored 39 goals in 155 games for Wolves after arriving on the same day as John De Wolf from Sunderland in a £1.1m deal in December 1994.

It was special for many reasons; I grew up supporting Leeds United and stood on the terraces there, I was a ball boy there and frequently played county football there and represented the city.

One day I would have loved to have played for Leeds. I would have walked there and played for nothing.

We went there as massive underdogs because Leeds were a very good team and were flying at the time.

George Graham was the manager, they had Harry Kewell, Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink and so many other internationals.

But to be fair to Mark McGhee, he set us up very well – in and out of possession we made it very hard for them and we got the goal.”