Gary O’Neil: Wolves’ aim is to win FA Cup

By Sports Desk February 28, 2024

Gary O’Neil revealed Wolves’ FA Cup dream after they reached the quarter-finals with a 1-0 victory over Brighton.

Mario Lemina’s goal after just 77 seconds booked a home tie with Coventry next month, just the second time Wolves have reached the last eight since 2003.

Brighton, though, bossed the game and Facundo Buonanotte missed a fine chance before goalkeeper Jason Steele sliced a good opening wide in stoppage time.

O’Neil has underlined his desire for success in the competition and admitted he told his players the goal was to lift the trophy ahead of their third-round tie at Brentford in January.

“When we set off to travel to Brentford I remember delivering the pre-match meeting and spoke about our aim, at that moment, was to win the FA Cup,” he said.

“I know how farfetched that sounds but every win you get a step closer. We have had to give a lot to get here.

“Coventry will be a massive test, they are a good side, play good football and we will be expected to roll them over by everyone outside and that can create problems.

“Whoever we played in the quarter-final we would see it as a great chance. We’ve beat Chelsea twice and Tottenham and Man City here. We love playing here, I’m sure they (fans) will be dreaming of a semi final and I’ll be analysing Coventry.”

Wolves snatched a second-minute winner when Lemina fired in at the second attempt after Steele flapped at Jean-Ricner Bellegarde’s cross.

But the hosts never built on their lead and Brighton pushed them – without forcing Jose Sa into a meaningful save.

Wayward efforts from Simon Adingra and Jakub Moder never troubled Sa but Buonanotte should have levelled instead of heading wide just before the break.

Lewis Dunk also nodded wide before Wolves lost Hwang Hee-Chan to a hamstring injury.

O’Neil added: “Someone has to play for us and we needed to get through to the next round. I’m hopeful it’s not too serious. I’d be amazed if he plays at the weekend (at Newcastle).”

Brighton pressed for a leveller which never came but they should have taken the tie to extra time in the final minute of stoppage time.

Steele raced up for a corner and when the ball was nodded down he was left unmarked six yards out but fired wide.

Boss Roberto De Zerbi said: “We played well, we made too many mistakes – especially in the first half – to score. We created a lot of chances and we played well enough to score.

“I’m happy with the performance, the style we played, the attitude, the personality. It was very tough playing without nine injured players.

“The future of Brighton was on the pitch, a lot of young players. Maybe they are not all ready for this level but we are working well and doing great things as we are keeping the same level of last season – with a lot of problems.

“The game against Fulham is on Saturday and we have to be ready to fight.”

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