Wayne Rooney thinks Manchester United blew a great opportunity to win the FA Cup this year.
United were knocked out of the competition at the quarter-final stages on Monday night thanks to Arsenal’s 2-1 win at Old Trafford.
The defeat was hard to take for Rooney and his teammates. The club have now gone 11 years without winning the FA Cup and it is the only domestic competition Rooney has not won.
United would have been expected to beat either Bradford City or Reading in the next round if they had progressed and given that they were the highest-ranked team left in the competition, they would have been favourites to lift the trophy in May.
“I want to win the cup for and with the team; it’s not about me wanting to win the FA Cup,” the United captain told MUTV.
“That’s why it’s so sad for us to get knocked out; we knew we’d have a great opportunity if we’d won on Monday night.”
Rooney speared a fantastic diving header past Wojciech Szczesny to make it 1-1 four minutes after Nacho Monreal’s opener.
But any hopes of United making a Wembley semi-final were dashed when Danny Welbeck scored against his old club just after the hour and Angel di Maria was given a second yellow card for tugging the back of referee Michael Oliver’s shirt.
“We’re obviously disappointed,” the striker said.
“Going into half-time having equalised, we felt that we’d create enough chances to win the game, but it wasn’t to be.”
Welbeck’s task for the winner was made much easier because of a mistake by Antonio Valencia in the build-up.
The United right-back sold David de Gea short with a poor backpass, leaving the England striker to tap the ball past the Spanish goalkeeper and roll it into an empty net.
Rooney refused to publicly castigate Valencia and instead turned his attentions to Sunday's Premier League game against Tottenham.
“Mistakes happen, but it’s not nice when you’re on the receiving end of one which costs us a goal,” Rooney said.
“It’s a hard one to take, but we have to dust ourselves down and get ready for Sunday.
“Conceding the second goal the way we did in the second half meant that we were always chasing the game afterwards; they made it difficult for us and defended well.”
Oliver dished out seven yellow cards to United on Monday, which means they will be fined £25,000 (Dh138,465) by the Football Association.
After failing to get off the bench against Arsenal, Radamel Falcao was given a surprise run out for the Under 21 side in their match against Tottenham on Tuesday.
The Colombian two-time Ballon d’Or nominee has scored just four goals since his deadline day loan move from AS Monaco and he failed to find the net in his first appearance for United’s second string.
Falcao was substituted for Josh Harrop after 72 minutes of the match at Old Trafford.
Rafael improved his chances of a recall to the first team after he scored a spectacular equaliser in the 1-1 draw.
Ashley Young’s chances of making Sunday’s Premier League match at home to Spurs are in doubt after he hobbled out of Old Trafford on Monday night with a leg injury.
When asked how bad the problem was, the former Aston Villa man would only say: “We’ll see.”
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