Eddie Howe is confident Newcastle’s topsy-turvy season can still end on a high note as he targets FA Cup glory.

The Magpies slipped to ninth place in the Premier League table after a dismal 4-1 defeat at Arsenal on Saturday evening, and have looked some way off the pace they set last season, when they roared to a top-four finish.

But as they head into Tuesday night’s FA Cup fifth-round trip to Sky Bet Championship Blackburn, head coach Howe is convinced a campaign which has featured a famous Champions League victory over Paris St Germain, but also an untimely exit from Europe, could still have a happy ending.

He said: “We are still in the throes of deciding where this season ends up. Nothing is decided for or against us.

“I definitely want to squash that feeling that we are feeling sorry for ourselves because that has negative connotations. We need the players excited and ambitious, thinking brightly about the future.

“This season can still be very special for us, but we have to make it happen.”

Howe has been able to plead mitigating circumstances for much of what has happened so far this season with injuries having eaten significantly into his resources, but he was making no excuses for the horror show at the Emirates Stadium.

Instead, he refocused on progression in the FA Cup and the task of securing a European berth for the second successive season, even if the Europa League or Europa Conference League now look more realistic options.

He said: “Of course, qualifying for the Champions League was unbelievable last year. But if you can’t make that again, then we have to look for the next best alternative.

“That’s what we’re trying to do, and for me, they’re (the Europa League and Conference League) realistic objectives and we’ll give everything we can to achieve it.”

It is perhaps no coincidence that the Magpies’ difficulties have intensified since the loss of powerhouse midfielder Joelinton. He suffered a thigh tendon injury in the FA Cup third-round victory at Sunderland which is likely to sideline him for much of the remainder of the campaign.

Howe said: “We’ve missed Joe’s qualities, especially physically, his robustness, his abilities in duels, set-plays for and against.

“We’re very lucky to have a midfielder that’s as big as he is and as competitive as he is and whenever you lose those qualities, you notice when they’re not there.

“He’s a very unusual midfielder, really, a prototype. You don’t get many like him and it’s certainly been missed, what he can bring.”

The 27-year-old Brazilian has played a key role in the club’s resurgence since emerging from a miserable start to his career on Tyneside, and his future remains uncertain with a contract wrangle – his current deal expires next year – unresolved.

Howe said: “That’s always been in my mind as an absolute priority, to try to get him to stay at the club long-term. I see that as hugely important.”

Maidstone FA Cup hero Lucas Covolan once scored a goal and saved two penalties in a play-off final but just a few months later found himself in the depths of depression.

The Brazilian goalkeeper, pushed into attack with his Torquay side trailing Hartlepool 1-0 in the 2021 National League final, headed an added-time equaliser to take the match to extra time.

“The feeling of scoring a goal is totally different from just saving it,” he recalled.

“Such a high moment of my career. I don’t know if it brought me into the mental issues I had as well, but I will remember that day for ever.

“It was a corner, they cleared it, it went for a throw-in, I thought they were going to put it back in the box again, so I stayed up.

“It was  great header in the end. I remember looking and the ball was going in the net in slow motion. I didn’t know how to celebrate.”

Covolan then kept out two spot-kicks in the shoot-out, but unfortunately his team-mates missed three and Torquay missed out on promotion.

An ill-fated spell at Port Vale followed where Covolan experienced his mental health problems.

So when the goalkeeper sank to his knees following his extraordinary display in National League South side Maidstone’s stunning 2-1 fourth-round win at Ipswich, the emotions came flooding out.

“It was a thousand moments in the past two years,” he added. “When I went to the league with Port Vale, my mindset was not right.

“Suffering with my mental health, being depressed. I was thinking of the people who helped me through it.

“When I went down on my knees and just cried, it was remembering all the down moments. It was reward for myself, a very special moment.”

Covolan, missing his family back in Brazil, became a withdrawn figure until he sought help from the PFA and received therapy.

“It was a long time, right now I wish I had come forward before and not waited that long,” he said.

“I like to speak about this now, try to encourage people to come forward.”

Covolan and his Maidstone team-mates made history by becoming the first team outside of the top five divisions to reach the FA Cup fifth round since Blyth Spartans in 1978.

They travel to another Championship side, Coventry, on Monday night bidding for a scarcely believable place in the quarter-finals.

Covolan’s heroics have not gone unnoticed by the Premier League’s Brazilian goalkeeping fraternity, Manchester City’s Ederson and Alisson Becker of Liverpool.

“They say when I go up north they will invite me to have a barbecue,” he said.

“I don’t know who’s going to cook, probably Alisson because he comes from the south. I think his barbecue is going to be better.”

George Elokobi believes Maidstone’s FA Cup adventure has catapulted them onto the global stage.

The Stones are the first team outside of the top five divisions to reach the fifth round since Blyth Spartans in 1978.

Their run, including the memorable 2-1 win at Ipswich last month, has captured the imagination from Kent to Cameroon and beyond.

They face a trip to another Sky Bet Championship side, Coventry, on Monday night bidding to become the first sixth-tier team to reach the quarter-finals.

“It’s an incredible achievement, not just for ourselves but for the community, Maidstone United, and our fanbase,” said Cameroon-born boss Elokobi.

“But we have also gained so much admiration globally, how we have gone about our FA Cup run, how we’ve approached it as a football club.

“Now we have kids coming up to us saying ‘we want to emulate what you have done’.

“It’s historic and a lot of the people around the city and elsewhere who aren’t even connected with Maidstone, they’ve told me their new team is Maidstone United. That shows you what the players have done.

“It’s a huge moment for myself. It’s a huge moment for my community back in Cameroon. It’s a huge moment for our football club. For Africa as well. It’s huge.

“The FA Cup is regarded as one of the best competitions in the world and for Maidstone to be in the fifth round, against a Championship side in Coventry, a club full of history, it’s an inspirational moment for myself and I’m ever so proud to be the leader of the club.”

Even if they do not pull off another shock against the Sky Blues, Maidstone will still have won more matches in the competition than the eventual winners.

Their journey began with victory at Steyning in September in the second qualifying round before beating Winchester City, Torquay, Chesham, Barrow and Stevenage before their Portman Road heroics set up a meeting with the 1987 FA Cup winners.

“It’s a day with for no pressure for us,” added Elokobi. “We are Maidstone United Football Club. There shouldn’t be any pressure on us.

“We will go and enjoy the occasion. It’s a historic day for our football club.”

League One Bradford claimed another Premier League scalp to book their place in the FA Cup quarter-finals for the first time in 39 years on this day in 2015.

Billy Clarke’s deflected third-minute effort – which went down as a John O’Shea own goal – and a cool 61st-minute finish from Jon Stead saw the Bantams build on their stunning fourth-round win over Chelsea by dispatching Gus Poyet’s Sunderland 2-0 with embarrassing ease.

From Clarke’s effort on, the underdogs seized control of the game in front of a sell-out Valley Parade crowd of over 24,000 and heaped more woe on a Black Cats side struggling in the top flight.

At times it seemed like throwback football – a frenetic pace, a muddy pitch cutting up more by the minute, a pair of players swathed in thick white headbands after an early head clash, and a controversial lack of television cameras present to show the action live.

The roar released by the home fans at the final whistle could probably be heard in the offices of TV executives across the land as Phil Parkinson’s men confirmed their richly deserved place in the last eight for the first time since 1976.

Parkinson said at the time: “There was always a danger that, because we beat Chelsea, everyone would expect us to win today, and we had to guard against that and go in there with the underdog mentality.

“Right from the first whistle we played with great desire and great spirit and we were first to every ball all over the pitch.

“Today is another terrific day and, to have Valley Parade full of 24,000 fans, it’s like a throwback. The lads were absolutely revelling in it and they deserve the support because of their performances and the effort they have put in over the years.”

Bradford’s run was ended in the last eight by Reading, with the sides drawing 0-0 in the first match before the Royals won the replay 3-0.

Conor Gallagher says Chelsea set the standard they have to reach with their FA Cup win at Aston Villa.

The midfielder scored his first goal of the season in Wednesday’s 3-1 fourth-round replay win.

Nicolas Jackson’s header and Enzo Fernandez’s sensational free kick helped the visitors to victory, despite Moussa Diaby’s injury-time consolation.

Chelsea, 11th in the Premier League, came into the game in disarray after 4-1 and 4-2 defeats to Liverpool and Wolves respectively and Gallagher knows they cannot let things drop.

“There was a lot of hunger and that’s what we need every game,” he said, with Chelsea hosting Leeds in the fifth round. “I think before the game you could sense that because the last two games have not been good enough by our standards.

“Everyone was really up for it and raring to give our fans a good performance and we did.

“We know how we can play – we showed that. A lot of times this season we haven’t been good enough, but also a lot of times we have been really good against the top teams so we know how good we can be.

“We’re really buzzing and Villa are a top team so to beat them, and the way we did it, was brilliant so we will take a lot of confidence from that, and hopefully take it into the next game.”

Gallagher’s 11th-minute opener was his first goal of the season, and first since last May.

“Obviously, I like to score goals and I want to score more,” he said. “This season I haven’t done so and hopefully I can get a few more.

“It was nice to get my goal and with it being my first of the season, it was really important to me. I think it helped us gain confidence in the game which helped us win, so I’m really happy.”

Villa suffered a second straight home defeat and boss Unai Emery is aiming for consistency with his side still challenging for Champions League qualification and in the Europa Conference League.

He said: “We had an opportunity in the FA Cup. It’s not easy and we are trying to be consistent, to increase our level and be a contender in each competition.

“We are facing matches like Chelsea and have to understand we are in our process. Our process is try to be consistent and get some regularity in our way. My objective is we have to feel confidence and comfortable at home even when we are not getting a good result.”

Nottingham Forest boss Nuno Espirito Santo said his side’s night of toil in their FA Cup replay against Bristol City was worth it after they booked a fifth-round tie with Manchester United.

Forest needed a penalty shootout to get past the Championship outfit after it ended 1-1 after 120 minutes at the City Ground.

Goalkeeper Matt Turner was the hero as he saved Sam Bell’s effort in the shootout after Divock Origi’s first goal for Forest had been cancelled out by Jason Knight’s leveller.

“We are so happy it was tough but it was worth it,” the Portuguese said. “We had players struggling, extra time, let’s assess them now and see how they are.

“With players that have been out for so long it is tough, but it was the best possible way to manage the situation we are in now, trying to protect players that are returning, we have to measure the minutes they are on the pitch.

“The response was good. It was tough, but the attitude and the character to never give up makes me very, very happy.

“This is the FA Cup, it is so special and that is why we are so happy and proud to keep continuing and fighting for something that is so huge for us, to fight for a trophy, with the history of the club we have to keep on fighting and try to deliver.”

Manchester United visit the City Ground in three weeks for the fifth-round tie.

“It is going to be fantastic and huge for us but before that we have a lot of things to prepare. We have a tough one on Saturday (against Newcastle),” Nuno added.

Bristol City boss Liam Manning was proud of his side’s effort and praised Bell, despite his decisive penalty miss in the shootout.

Manning said: “He is understandably gutted, the lads have been great and got around him.

“As tough as an experience it is right now, it is only going to be one that makes him tougher and stronger. I said to him that’s the best he has been since I have been here, I thought his performance level was excellent.

“We wouldn’t have got to penalties if it wasn’t for him making that recovery run and tackle at the back post.

“He has got an exciting future ahead of him, he’s got talent, it’s now how we turn that into consistent performances.

“There was huge pride in the performance level, in the last 15 minutes of extra time we were pushing and the better side and created so many chances.”

Mauricio Pochettino came out fighting after Chelsea outclassed Aston Villa to breeze into the FA Cup fifth round.

Enzo Fernandez’s stunning free kick sealed a 3-1 victory and set up last-16 tie against Leeds at Stamford Bridge.

First-half goals from Conor Gallagher and Nicolas Jackson put Chelsea in control of the fourth round replay and they cruised to victory, despite Moussa Diaby’s injury-time consolation.

Chelsea had come to Villa Park in disarray on the back of 4-1 and 4-2 defeats to Liverpool and Wolves – leaving them 11th in the Premier League.

But Pochettino insists they cannot be compared to the dominant side from the Roman Abramovich era which won five Premier League titles – despite spending over £1billion under owner Todd Boehly.

He said: “We need to stop this thing that we are Chelsea from 20 years ago. We are not this type of Chelsea anymore. Now we need to move on and we need to create this project.

“We need to move on, I don’t care if people are happy or not happy with my speech. I care for the club, I care for my players, I want to help the players.

“We are going to fight, I don’t care what the people say. I’m not more sad or happy today after a win because we have experience, this type of project needs time and trust.

“We cannot build a team to challenge because you need to fix too many things, you need to observe, analyse and compete.

“We are building a project which may be one year, two years, three years.

“Today you can see we were ready to fight. We fight for the fans, the badge, the coaching staff. Now the challenge is to be consistent.”

Just as the Chelsea fans sung for former owner Abramovich the visitors took the lead after 11 minutes.

Jackson and Noni Madueke combined to tee up Gallagher to find the top corner for his first goal of the season.

Ten minutes later it was 2-0 as Chelsea tore Villa apart down the right and Malo Gusto’s perfect cross was nodded in by Jackson.

There was barely a response from the hosts – who lost their 11-month unbeaten home league run to Newcastle last week – and Emi Martinez saved Cole Palmer’s effort as Chelsea looked for a third.

They found it nine minutes after the break when Fernandez, having been lucky to earn a foul off Youri Tielemans, curled a brilliant 25-yard free-kick into the top corner.

Villa were beaten but managed a consolation in stoppage time when Diaby’s strike went in off both posts and they now welcome a resurgent Manchester United in the Premier League on Sunday.

Boss Unai Emery said: “We were excited and motivated and we started well, we didn’t score but we were feeling good.

“When they were getting in our box we were not being strong and they were affecting us. They got into our box with some crosses and were clinical.

“I was more or less feeling the difference was the clinical way for them.

“We scored a little bit late and had no time to score the second goal. We have to accept and analyse the match. To beat them is not easy when you’re not being clinical.”

Matt Turner came good for Nottingham Forest as he was the hero in an FA Cup fourth-round replay penalty shoot-out win against Bristol City which set up a mouth-watering tie with Manchester United.

Turner has made several high-profile mistakes in recent weeks which saw boss Nuno Espirito Santo sign a new goalkeeper in the January transfer window.

But the United States international kept Bristol City at bay throughout 120 minutes and then saved Sam Bell’s spot-kick as Forest won the shoot-out 5-3 after the tie had ended 1-1.

Divock Origi’s first goal for Forest since his summer move from AC Milan had given them an early lead but the spirited Championship side troubled their Premier League hosts throughout and levelled through Jason Knight.

They could have won the tie in both normal time and extra time had it not been for Turner, who pulled off a string of saves throughout the night.

Forest’s reward is a fifth-round match against Manchester United at the City Ground in three weeks, though they will have to improve immeasurably considering they have laboured past League One Blackpool in the third round and now the second-tier Robins.

Forest, who made eight changes from the side that drew at Bournemouth in the league on Sunday, had designs on an easy night when they took an eighth-minute lead.

Morgan Gibbs-White forced Max O’Leary into a stunning one-handed save down to his right, but from the resulting corner Origi glanced home to break his Forest duck.

However, it quickly became apparent that a long night was in store as the Robins levelled six minutes later.

Turner tipped Andy King’s shot from distance on to one post, the ball rolled across the line and hit the other post, where Haydon Roberts collected it and teed up Knight to tap into an empty net.

Turner then had to get down well to save Anis Mehmeti’s effort and did even better to keep out Tommy Conway’s low shot as Forest were on the rack.

Mehmeti had another effort saved by Turner early in the second half as the Forest goalkeeper was kept busy.

Forest sent on Taiwo Awoniyi and Callum Hudson-Odoi to try and wrestle control of the game.

And they began to build some pressure in the final 10 minutes.

Nuno Tavares saw a drilled effort parried by O’Leary before Hudson-Odoi teed up Neco Williams but he shot just wide as the game went to an additional period.

Both sides had chances in extra time as the impenetrable Turner again denied Mehmeti with a stretching save while Moussa Niakhate sent a free header wide.

It was the Championship side who were pushing for a winner in the second half of extra time as Nahki Wells was somehow denied on the line after a good move down the left while Matty James whistled a shot over from a corner.

But the game was decided from the penalty spot and Turner denied Bell, which allowed Awoniyi to fire home the winning kick.

Chelsea stunned Aston Villa with a 3-1 win to march on in the FA Cup and ease the pressure on Mauricio Pochettino.

Enzo Fernandez’s sensational free-kick added to first-half goals from Conor Gallagher and Nicolas Jackson.

Moussa Diaby’s injury-time strike failed to ruin Chelsea’s night and the Blues now host Leeds in the fifth round.

Having been humbled 4-2 by Wolves and thumped 4-1 by Liverpool in their two previous games there was an expectation Chelsea would lurch further into crisis in their fourth-round replay at Villa Park.

Instead, while fans sung for former owner Roman Abramovich, their side rolled back the years with a dominant performance akin to those during the Russian’s reign.

With progress in the FA Cup and the Carabao Cup final against Liverpool to come at the end of the month, despite a wretched Premier League campaign Chelsea could still salvage success.

For Villa, Unai Emery had already labelled this week – with Manchester United visiting on Sunday – as crucial to their hopes as they challenge for the top four.

But with a second straight home defeat – coming after inconsistent home displays against Sheffield United and Burnley – there will be rightful questions over Villa’s staying power.

Initially, the hosts listened to the manager’s words and there were alarm bells for Chelsea in the opening three minutes when John McGinn roughed up Axel Disasi before Alex Moreno fluffed his lines.

Half chances for Cole Palmer and Fernandez hardly hinted at what was to come and it took just 10 minutes for the Chelsea fans to chant Abramovich’s name – yet a minute later the visitors struck.

Jackson teased his way into the area to find Noni Madueke, a constant bright spark for the visitors, and the forward had enough presence of mind to hold the ball up for Gallagher.

There was still plenty for the midfielder to do but he avoided the massed ranks to pick out the top corner from 16 yards.

Villa sought an instant reply and Leon Bailey shot at Djordje Petrovic, with the goalkeeper also turning Ollie Watkins’ drive over.

The hosts’ 11-month unbeaten home league run ended last week, a 3-1 defeat to Newcastle, but they would have expected better against a fractured Chelsea who had lost six of their last seven away outings.

Yet, with the lead, Pochettino’s side came to life and doubled their advantage with an excellent, flowing, move after 21 minutes.

It was built down right with Disasi and Madueke involved before Malo Gusto was released to brilliantly cross for Jackson, who directed a precise header into the corner.

As against Newcastle, Villa were falling apart with Chelsea exploiting the flanks. Madueke continued to taunt the hosts and his strong run ended with Emi Martinez pushing away Palmer’s effort.

Petrovic tipped McGinn’s drive over in stoppage time after Ben Chilwell’s foul throw saw Villa break but it was a rare moment of concern for the visitors.

The hosts needed a response but – just like against Newcastle – they conceded a third soon after the break.

Fernandez may have been fortunate to earn a free kick while being shadowed by Youri Tielemans but there was nothing lucky about his 25-yard strike which arched into the top corner.

With a cushion Chelsea eased off which gave Villa brief cause for optimism but they never launched a recovery, despite Diaby’s stoppage time consolation.

Leeds boss Daniel Farke praised his side for their 4-1 extra-time win at Championship rivals Plymouth.

Extra-time goals by substitutes Georginio Rutter and Crysencio Summerville and a Ryan Hardie own goal settled the FA Cup fourth-round replay and sealed Leeds’ passage into the last 16 – and a trip to Aston Villa or Chelsea.

Brendan Galloway’s 78th-minute chested goal for Argyle had cancelled out Wilfried Gnonto’s 66th-minute opener to force extra time.

Farke said: “It was nearly the perfect away performance. We were so dominant, we created so many chances, scored the goals but we also hit the crossbar twice and the post.

“The scoreline flattered us, yes but not that we had to play 120 minutes and it was also a replay.

“I want to say firstly congratulations to Plymouth, a brave side, a confident side, they never know when they are beaten.

“They found a way in both games to get a foot in the door although we were so dominant.

“We dominated the second half, I just saw the statistics that we had 82 per cent of the possession. But Plymouth had the free-kick and they managed to score so they were pretty effective.

“Plymouth scored out of nothing but we showed great heart to win this. We invested so much energy and mentality into the game and showed a real will to win.

“We took risks and pressed them high and also defended with discipline. I am happy with the performance as we gave everything.

“I don’t look too far ahead but we can think about the next round when it comes around. It will be an exciting game.”

Argyle boss Ian Foster said: “I said to them after the game how proud I am of them.

“We spoke about coming away with no regrets and I am proud of the way we approached the game and how difficult we made it for Leeds over two games.

“The scoreline is quite sobering for us in terms of their ruthlessness at the end. We won’t be downtrodden about the result because we know how well we played over two games.

“Look at the quality that Leeds had on the pitch late on, it makes it challenging for you. We will learn from playing against top-quality opposition.

“Leeds are a smashing outfit and they deserved to go through on the balance of the game and we wish them well.

“We have been caught a couple of times and that is fine. We will stick together and keep learning and improving. We are a young and inexperienced team at this level.

“It’s quite difficult because it was a sobering scoreline but we will take the positives from it, dust ourselves down and move on.

“We have got four boys who were ineligible, which is fine, because we knew that. I have got no issues with the number of subs we had today (six, of the permitted nine); we had to go with what we had.

“We will be good to go for Sunderland on Saturday. We will have six more players available to us on Saturday, which is good.

“Late in the game we were still in it, but we want to leave our top scorers on the pitch. We wanted to give it a good go.”

Russell Martin’s half-time hairdryer set up Southampton’s second-half surge to send them to a 3-0 FA Cup replay win over Watford and a fifth-round clash with Liverpool.

Saints were dismal in the first half before Sekou Mara bagged a brace of well-hit strikes and Che Adams secured a 24th game unbeaten for the Championship promotion hunters.

“I wasn’t happy with the first half and told the players that,” said Martin.

“It is the first time in some time I have done that. My throat was a little bit sore.

“The team is built on being really brave with the ball but really aggressive without and we lacked aggression.

“We were just a bit too nice, we’ve been horrible to play against for a while but we weren’t in the first half.

“At half-time it was about mentality and energy. Second half we were relentless and could have scored one or two more.”

Adams diverted a ball through to Mara and the Frenchman sent Daniel Bachmann the wrong way to finish at the near post and get Saints moving in the 52nd minute.

Six minutes later, Mara bagged his fifth goal of the season when he emphatically finished a counter-attack by thumping into the near post again, this time from outside the box.

Adams finally got the goal his persistence deserved when he calmly diverted Joe Rothwell’s sumptuous free-kick from the left flank past substitute Ben Hamer.

Saints could have made it a wider margin when Samuel Edozie and Sam Amo-Ameyaw struck the post.

The reward is a trip to Anfield, something to which Martin is looking forward.

“It will be exciting, it will be brilliant but we have five games before then,” he said.

“It is a great place to play football and to play against one of the best managers in the world in his last season there will be amazing.

“It holds a special place for me because I scored there on the day my son was born, probably the only point we ever took at Anfield in a fair few visits.”

Watford boss Valerien Ismael said: “It was disappointing, for sure.

“After the first half we were actually in the game. We knew coming here against a team with a lot of confidence and haven’t lost a game in a long time, we knew we had to be strong and solid.

“We grew up in the game and created some situations and told the guys we needed to step up and push for more.

“But in the second half after the first goal we mentally dropped quickly and had tiredness. We started to make mistakes and it became difficult for us to come back into the game.”

Coventry boss Mark Robins heaped praise on Callum O’Hare after the midfielder scored a brace in the 4-1 win against Sheffield Wednesday which set up a FA Cup fifth round-tie against non-league minnows Maidstone.

O’Hare’s double came after Kasey Palmer had opened the scoring 17 days after he was the target of racial abuse at Hillsborough, while Bailey Cadamarteri had earlier equalised for the Owls.

Haji Wright capped off a devastating eight-minute spell in the second half to make it 4-1 at the CBS Arena.

“His (O’Hare’s) goals were brilliant,” said Robins.

“In the first half he’s had a couple of opportunities and he’s just missed, you can see the disappointment that he’s not hit the target. He’s made the keeper make a save from one and he’s had one that hit the stanchion so he wasn’t too far away.

“I thought the overall play, some of the one-touch passing and the movement and the calmness and patience, there was some brilliant football played and I was delighted, a really good performance.”

The rout sets up a mouthwatering game against sixth-tier Maidstone, the lowest ranked team left in the competition.

Robins added: “We’re looking forward to it greatly, they’ve done brilliantly.

“George (Elokobi) has done a fantastic job in getting Maidstone to this round, they’re on our level on the day, they’ll be on our level, we’ve got to take it really seriously, which we always do, and give them the respect that they deserve, they’re on the same pitch as us so we need to make sure we approach that game as we always do.”

On the win over Wednesday, Robins added: “Obviously this tie has been spoken about, the game up there in the league wasn’t great and we’ve spoken about that a lot so to progress in this tie against these was very sweet, the only sour note was Di’Shon Bernard’s left a shoulder in on Jamie Allen’s cheek and fractured his cheekbone.

“Kasey’s goal was a brilliant goal but he’s been calm and been patient just until that moment when he could get a shot away and he found the bottom corner.

“Second half was where we settled down a little bit and took control. I thought we took complete control but some of the play was outstanding, from top, top players who were enjoying themselves.”

Sheffield Wednesday manager Danny Rohl bemoaned the eight-minute spell which meant his side were beaten comfortably after making nine changes after their 4-0 thrashing at Huddersfield on Saturday.

Rohl said: “In the first half we played well with Coventry, it was a good game to see, but then again in eight minutes, three conceded goals, this is hard to take.

“This is what we have to learn, we spoke after Huddersfield about this situation, if you concede one then it’s about OK, be strong, make the basics right then come again.

“In the first half the reaction was great, we came back in this game, it was still open but then you see also I think the difference in the final third again today and I think this is where we are, we try a lot but they can make one movement and smart pass to make it 2-1, but this is at the moment the difference.

“When I look back there are some different goals, today we conceded the first after losing the ball where it’s dangerous, the second, third and fourth goal is when we are organised and in deep position, this is about how we protect our goal.

“Full focus on the league, that was my message after the game. Sixteen games to go, 48 points to take, this is our goal, this is our challenge what we have.

“We need results, we know this, after Huddersfield we had a good day with the team, from tomorrow we need to move forward.”

Mauricio Pochettino has called for perspective on the struggles of his Chelsea team, insisting “I cannot lose my hair” over recent poor results.

Sunday’s 4-2 loss at home to Wolves was the 10th in the league since the 51-year-old arrived in the summer and triggered the first audible signs of discontent from fans towards the manager.

Afterwards Pochettino appeared to suggest he believed the players were not good enough to arrest the club’s slide, though he has since clarified he was referring only to the performance in the defeat to Gary O’Neil’s side.

Chelsea were outrun and out-thought by Wolves who, despite seeing their hosts enjoy greater ball possession, were conformably the more threatening team and they cut through the Blues with relative ease en route to a first win at Stamford Bridge since 1979.

It drew an angry response from supporters near the dugout who booed the players off at half-time and again at the final whistle as the Blues dropped into the bottom half of the Premier League table.

It followed a meek 4-1 collapse away to Liverpool in their previous fixture.

However, Pochettino insisted it was important for a coach in his position to retain a sense of enjoyment in the job even in trying times.

“Football is my passion, not my job,” he said. “Sometimes we say ‘job’ but it’s the wrong word. Football is entertainment.

“If I don’t think like this, I need to go in another position, being a sporting director or CEO or president.

“Being coach, I need to keep a sense of why I am here. We cannot suffer because of business and other things. We need to be focused to play football.

“To be focused in football, you need to feel free in your mind. You cannot be affected because the stock in New York or Tokyo, or the weather or because the farm doesn’t grow.

“That’s why I keep my hair like this, because I don’t suffer from things that I am not in charge of. I only suffer for football, to try to improve the players, to provide them a good platform to win games.

“If there is no rain on my farm, you kill the business of my farm. That is a stress. You can lose your hair. But I cannot lose my hair because we’re not winning because the opponent was better than us.”

With 15 league games to go, Chelsea are just one place higher in the table than they finished last season in what was wildly acknowledged to be an appalling campaign.

They travel to Aston Villa on Wednesday for an FA Cup fourth-round replay.

“I didn’t finish 12th last year, Chelsea did,” said Pochettino. “It is a different squad to last year, many changes. If you want to compare to damage us, to compare things I think is impossible.

“You can compare to try to damage, if you want to make a problem. But to analyse and put all the circumstances, I don’t think that before was better or was worse. It’s difficult to compare because we are in another project.”

Three extra-time goals fired Leeds into the FA Cup fifth round with a 4-1 win at Championship rivals Plymouth.

Substitutes Crysencio Summerville and Georginio Rutter combined to put United 3-1 up before a 117th-minute own goal by Argyle striker Ryan Hardie capped a comprehensive United win.

Leeds will now travel to Premier League Aston Villa or Chelsea on Wednesday February 28.

The replay sparked to life in the 13th minute when a brilliant through-ball from Sam Byram found Mateo Joseph on the run. Joseph beat marker Lewis Gibson in a tussle for the ball but Northern Ireland keeper Conor Hazard got enough glove on a rising shot to turn the ball onto the frame of the goal.

Leeds hit the woodwork again in the 20th minute as Glen Kamara teed up Joel Piroe on the edge of the box. Piroe’s thundering drive took enough of a deflection off Argyle central defender Brendan Galloway to take the ball on to the face of the bar.

Plymouth responded on the counter, with skipper Joe Edwards forcing a routine save from Illan Meslier after being set up by Morgan Whittaker.

Defender Byram made a superb clearance to keep the ball away from Callum Wright as Hardie’s pacy ball from the right beat Meslier in the 25th minute and skimmed across the six-yard box.

Joseph went close with a 55th-minute shot which took the faintest of deflections off central defender Gibson’s heel and flew just past the post, covered by a diving Hazard.

Leeds pressure eventually told as Wilfried Gnonto fired them ahead in the 66th minute with a superb, measured right-foot strike from the edge of the box to beat Hazard at full stretch. Gnonto benefitted from a superb pass from playmaker Kamara from the right.

Substitute Archie Gray announced his arrival with a stinging shot which flew just wide from 20 yards on 73 minutes.

Argyle levelled from a 78th-minute Whittaker free-kick from the left as teenage central defender Ashley Phillips looped the far-post ball over Meslier to Galloway, who chested the ball home.

Substitute Joe Gelhardt smashed a half-volley off the post in stoppage time, while Hardie forced a last-minute save from Meslier as Argyle responded positively.

Seven minutes into extra time Rutter put Summerville on his way to a brilliant individual goal as he cut in from the left before beating Hazard with a soaring strike.

As Plymouth pressed for an extra-time leveller, Summerville teed up Rutter to sweep home Leeds’ third goal in the 111th minute.

Argyle’s misery was completed when Ilia Gruev’s corner glanced off Hardie and skidded past his own keeper.

Sekou Mara’s first brace in English football fired Southampton to a 3-0 FA Cup replay victory over Watford and a fifth-round meeting with Liverpool.

Mara smashed two strikes into the near post to score his fourth and fifth goals of the season.

Che Adams added gloss to the victory to take Saints to a 24th game undefeated and set up potentially Jurgen Klopp’s last FA Cup tie before he leaves the Reds in the summer.

Both sides made seven changes a piece from their weekend exploits in the Championship and that showed in an opening 20 minutes devoid of quality.

Hornets defender Wesley Hoedt, against his former club, and winger Matheus Martins had off-target efforts at one end, and Saints teenager Tyler Dibling dragged wide at the other as the rain swirled around St Mary’s.

The deluged pitch meant Saints’ usually slick passing was impacted, although midfielder Flynn Downes forced a tricky moment for Daniel Bachmann after slipping in behind.

The game livened up when Southampton goalkeeper Joe Lumley was left rooted as Ismael Kone’s long-range drive deflected up and skidded onto the cross bar.

Lumley was equal to Kone a little later when the Ivorian midfielder diverted Martins’ cross towards goal.

And at the other end, Bachmann’s feet improbably denied Adams from five yards in the 28th minute before Mara fired an effort wide from a corner.

The hosts continued to dominate the ball without much cutting edge, although Joe Rothwell swung a shot wide and Bachmann smothered at Will Smallbone’s feet.

Adams and Mara switched positions in the second half and it proved the perfect alteration seven minutes after the restart.

Adams, now on the left, diverted the ball through to the central Mara and the Frenchman sent Bachmann the wrong way to finish into the near post.

Adams reverted to the middle after the goal and controlled over his shoulder and then volleyed over the bar as Saints pushed for a second.

And it came six minutes after the first as Mara emphatically finished a counter-attack by thumping into the near post again, this time from outside the box.

Bachmann walked straight off following the goal, having felt his head in the first half and pointed to his eye as he was replaced by Ben Hamer.

Samuel Edozie came off the bench and should have firmly put the game to bed when brilliantly threaded through by Rothwell but he stumbled and eventually scuffed a shot straight at Hamer.

Adams finally got the goal his persistence deserved when he calmly diverted Rothwell’s sumptuous free-kick from the left flank past Hamer.

Mara curled a late effort wide but could not add the match ball as a reward for his sparkling performance, while Edozie and Sam Amo-Ameyaw both struck the post.

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