Media playback is not supported on this device Highlights: Wolverhampton Wanderers 0-0 Manchester UnitedWolves boss Nuno Espirito Santo and Manchester United counterpart Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said they would have been happy for their FA Cup tie to go straight to a penalty shootout instead of adding another game to an already crowded fixture schedule.The third-round…
Wolves boss Nuno Espirito Santo and Manchester United counterpart Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said they would have been happy for their FA Cup tie to go straight to a penalty shootout instead of adding another game to an already crowded fixture schedule.
The third-round replay at Old Trafford on either 14 or 15 January will be Wolves’ 38th game of a season that began in July.
United have not played as many matches, but with a two-legged Carabao Cup semi-final against Manchester City this month, they will play a minimum of 53 games this term – and possibly quite a few more given, like Wolves, they are still in the Europa League.
“I would prefer to go straight to penalties,” said Nuno, when asked what he felt should have happened at full-time of Saturday’s 0-0 draw at Molineux.
“Why not?” agreed Solskjaer.
In the FA Trophy, the national cup competition for non-league sides, clubs have the option of playing a single tie to a finish – if they agree in advance – rather than have a replay, although extra time is played before ties go to penalties. The option does not exist in the FA Cup.
- Who’s through and who’s out? What happened in the FA Cup on Saturday?
- Watch all the goals from the FA Cup third round
- How to follow the third round on the BBC
‘Replays are about romance’
As someone who started one of the most famous FA Cup replays ever, the 1999 semi-final at Villa Park won in extra time by Ryan Giggs’ wonder-goal, Solskjaer knows their history and significance in English football.
And, even though they now end after the fourth round, Solskjaer accepts that they can still be very attractive fixtures for some.
“I remember playing [then non-league] Burton away in 2005,” he said. “That went to a replay at Old Trafford. We beat them 5-0 but it was a great day out for them.
“It’s a debate we can have but it is not just about the top teams having too many games. It is about romance. It is fantastic for Rochdale to go to Newcastle.”
Nevertheless, between 1 December and 1 February, 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.
“That’s the schedule,” said Solskjaer. “We just have to accept it and carry on.”
United play again on Tuesday when they entertain local rivals City. At least Wolves have a blank week in front of them, in which they hope to do some transfer business, although Nuno is still irritated at his side being asked to play Manchester City and Liverpool within the space of 45 hours over Christmas.
“Do you think it is possible to change anything? They didn’t ask anybody about the 45 hours between games. The rules are the rules,” he said.
“But if it went straight to penalties the game would be more emotional for sure because both teams would go for it.”