Photo: Express and Star
Watch this. You can pinpoint the second every Wolves fan heart breaks at Wembley.
Yep it wouldn’t be me without shoehorning a Simpsons reference even in one of Wolves’ darkest hours.
Wolves were moments from an FA Cup Final, but still lost in extra-time to opponents Watford.
As much as this will be a ‘what if’ moment for years to come, this gut wrenching afternoon needs to be a lesson learned for this still young side.
However, what this defeat has done is perhaps provide Wolves with the challenge this side needs to take themselves to the next level.
Wolves have been bred on confidence ever since Nuno joined the side in August 2017. Bar a 4-1 defeat to Aston Villa, this is the most significant negative result for this flourishing side.
Every obstacle they have faced, they have smashed through. They seemed to have lost their tag of ‘old Wolves’ with wins away to Middlesborough and Cardiff last season (with a little luck), and stunned the likes to Chelsea, Man Utd and Spurs.
So how then do they react to a result like this?
This is the real test Wolves and Nuno must prove they can easily overcome if the club wants to become the power player in Europe that it aims to be in the years to come.
Big Sides can lose finals, and fall at the final hurdle, but it is that winning mentality within a club that always shines through, and proves that despite a setback, they easily get back on the horse.
You can see it as a potential sliding doors moment. John Ruddy’s difficult to watch post match interview described it as a moment to move the club on, and you can see why.
What would have happened to Manchester City if, on that spring afternoon against QPR, Aguero does not connect that pass from Balotelli and slot in the goal that wins them their first Premier League title?
Would they have continued to dominate the English scene? Probably, but we may not be seeing the Manchester City that we see now. That never say die attitude was born, and despite their wealth, it has proven to be a key cog in the mindset of those at the Eithad stadium.
Yes, holding out for the final few moments and booking a place in the FA Cup final in May could have helped move Wolves into a new bracket, but I feel it is still too early in Wolves development under Fosun tenure for it to make much affect.
At it’s core this is still a young side, and a side inexperienced to the demands which fans and outside admirers put on their shoulders. Players such as Coady, Jota and Neves should have one shoulder around them, whilst encouraging them to make this a chapter people will happily skip over in a story of greater successes.
So now Wolves need to prove that this loss is just another footnote in the revival of this historic club. That perhaps with it, Wolves were able to learn and use it for their development.
They can start doing this with a strong end to their first season back in the top flight since 2012.
At writing they lie 8th, only off former Premier League champions Leicester City in 7th on goal difference. Pushing for that 7th place trophy and qualification in Europe is now their knockout competition route.
Even a top 10 finish would be a fantastic achievement, but to be in a position just outside of the top 6 and to have been in a FA Cup Semi Final come mid-May would be astonishing.
It tells the league and potential recruits that the defeat in April has been shirked off, and the club is only just beginning their ascent.
For Nuno, the game needs to be a learning curve for him.
For many games his ultra defensive/counter tactics have worked, and had a slice of luck, but that luck was eventually going to run out.
Wolves have turned from being the team that scored last minute goals to the one who concedes them in recent weeks. Late goals from Chelsea, Huddersfield and Man Utd have spoiled points and made fans sweat.
The defeat to Watford may look to him to re-think his game management and help players to close out games more effectively.
It will be a game that will live in infamy. One we will overplay in our minds where no matter what we think it won’t change the outcome.
This side has progressed further than we imagined, and at the end of the season it should not be a defining moment and paint a poor image on an incredible 9 months.
It’s a bump in the road, and now it’s time for Wolves to prove that it’s just that.
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