Menu Close

Wolves boss Nuno and United chief Ole agree on scrapping FA Cup replays

Wolves boss Nuno Espirito Santo and Manchester United counterpart Ole Gunnar Solskjaer would both scrap FA Cup replays given the choice.

Their teams must play their third round tie again, at Old Trafford a week on Tuesday, after Saturday’s 0-0 draw at Molineux.

The game will be Wolves’ 38th of 2019-20, meaning they will have played the equivalent of a full league season by the middle of January.

It will be the 34th match of the campaign for United, who are playing every midweek this month and now have eight games in January.

Both teams have at least 19 more matches left, including their round of 32 Europa League commitments, and as many as 32 more games, should either team were to reach the finals of the Europa League and the FA Cup (with a fourth round replay, although replays have been scrapped after that stage).

In the 63 days from December 1 to February 1 when these two sides are due to play each other in the Premier League at Old Trafford, United will have played a minimum of 18 games, and Wolves 15.

Nuno said: “I want replays – we want to go to Old Trafford and compete, but if you’d ask me my preference, I’d go straight to penalties.

The game would become more emotional, for sure. The FA Cup would be more emotional if it went straight to penalties as both teams would go for it.”

Solskjaer, when quizzed about scrapping replays, said “Why not?” as he agreed with Nuno.

We do have enough games and we will probably play Wolves in the Europa League soon, but that’s what we’re in it for.

It’s just about having fresh minds and fresh legs. Some have played and are tired – some haven’t played and felt the effects of that towards the end.”

Nuno, however, felt the tie shouldn’t be going to a second game anyway because of how Wolves had the better of proceedings.

Matt Doherty forced a superb save from Sergio Romero in the first half before having a header disallowed by referee Paul Tierney and VAR after the break, while substitute Raul Jimenez smashed a shot against the bar.

United hit the woodwork after Conor Coady’s brilliant sliding challenge deflected Marcus Rashford’s goalbound shot onto the bar, while Juan Mata whistled a free kick just wide.

I think we did enough (to beat United),” said the head coach. “We played good, and in the second half we created a lot of situations, after we recovered the ball very high.

Every time the players of Manchester United were under pressure, they went for the long pass and we controlled that. This allowed us to keep us on the front foot.

We always play to win, we always play to compete and to be the best that we can.

It was tough, but a good performance. Quality – sometimes there were moments, mistakes certainly, it wasn’t easy to play football, but I think we played better in the second half.

In the first half Manchester United had the ball, we created a lot of situations, and maybe we had chances because they didn’t have players in the box.

All the players coming out created us a lot of problems, to press, to recover and I think we did much better in the second half.

We controlled the game, dominated possession and had some good combinations, so I’m happy with that.

But it was a tough game, against a very difficult team who are very organised, there were not too many spaces, but we have another one to go.

We have to go, we want to compete. We play, we recover, we play. We are ready for it.”

Like Doherty, Nuno had no issues with the disallowed goal. He said: “I think it was a ball that was going inside the goal and it touched the hand. These things happen.”