O'Neil | 'Everyone gave all they could and it wasn’t enough'

A disappointed Gary O’Neil took full responsibility for Wolves FA Cup quarter-final defeat to Coventry City and insisted his players gave their all despite coming up short at Molineux.

The head coach has been left with an injury hit squad at his disposal, with Pablo Sarabia his only fit senior attacker, but despite finding a way to get ahead thanks to goals from left-backs Rayan Ait-Nouri and Hugo Bueno, Coventry hit back with two late goals to condemn Wolves to defeat.

Following the match, O’Neil gave an update on his injured forwards, but knows his side face an even more difficult task when they return to Premier League action after the international break.

On falling out of the cup

“I’m really disappointed for the players who gave everything again and really disappointed for the supporters because they gave everything as well, stuck with the group on a tough day, so just disappointed for everyone around the place after we were close to another memorable result.

“The lads gave everything, that was as much as we could produce on the day and it wasn’t enough. The players gave everything, all of them –the boys who came on, the young lads, Sa made some really good saves, everyone gave all they could and it wasn’t enough today to get us where we needed to go.

“Congratulations to Coventry, we knew they’d be a test for us with where we’re at. I’m devastated for the players and fans that we weren’t able to get over the line. A tough afternoon, obviously.”

On VAR decision for Coventry’s first goal

“I don’t want to sound like I’m making excuses, Coventry were the better side today, but it hits his arm and goes in. I don’t know why they said it was inconclusive, it seemed fairly conclusive to me, but it’s not the reason we lost the game.”

On being forced to play defenders in attack

“I’m really disappointed and I said to the players that I’m disappointed that I couldn’t find a way to help them get over the line. I’m disappointed for the fans and I take full responsibility for today. It’s my job to win football matches and I wasn’t able to do it today.

“Getting Hugo [Bueno] on helped us get a goal, moving Rayan [Ait-Nouri] up helped us get a goal, but then we end up short at the back and defensive numbers and at that point there’s not a defender available on the bench.

“It was a tough afternoon and a tough blow, which is harsh considering what they given and how much fight they’ve shown. But we’ve got to pick ourselves up and get ready to go to Aston Villa.”

On injuries impacting his squad

“We’ve felt it for a while. No excuses – we know the situation. Coventry today were the better side. We have to take that, to accept it. I can’t criticise the players that we had available, they gave absolutely everything.

“Today is just an accumulation of where the club has ended up. It is what it is. You can’t criticise the players and anyone who wants to blame the players for today is miles off in their opinion. The players gave everything. We have one senior attacker fit at a Premier League football club, which makes it tough. We can move Rayan higher, but then we lose Rayan lower. We can move Mario [Lemina] higher, but then we lose Mario lower.

“We juggled a few things around which helped us get back into the game and then it ended up costing us the game because we didn’t defend very well. We gave everything, but we came up a bit short. Coventry were able to capitalise on the fact they played us on a day when we were miles below our best with loads of players missing, and we weren’t able to get it done, which I’m gutted about. It’s my responsibility to get it done and we didn’t.”

On timeline for the injuries

“Bellegarde’s isn’t as bad as first feared so we’re hopeful he’s going to be back in and around it fairly soon. Don’t know about Aston Villa, but potentially if it goes really well.

“Matheus Cunha is looking like he’ll be around it by Villa, Pedro Neto is looking like it’s probably done for the season, and maybe back towards the very end of it, Channy [Hwang] is probably six to seven weeks in total from when he did it, so he’s still got a fair few to go. But we need to keep working to find solutions from what we have.”

On focusing on the Premier League

“The Premier League is going to be really tough, from this moment on. I spoke about how big the Fulham win was. We’ve got no attackers. We’ve got Pablo Sarabia.

“It’s going to be really tough to win Premier League games because we’re going to go to Aston Villa and they’re going to have Ollie Watkins, they’re going to have Bailey, Ramsey, Zaniolo coming off the bench, they’re going to have Tielemans.

“It’s going to be a tough spell, but we’re going to have to fight, we’re going to have to scrap, and I hope the fans understand that. The result is definitely not down to the players and how they performed. The players gave absolutely everything today and we were just not good enough today.”