Wolves boss Walter Zenga rued three costly minutes as the Molineux men succumbed to a 2-0 EFL Cup defeat at Newcastle United last night.
The Magpies made eight changes to the team beaten 2-0 by Wolves in the Championship on Saturday, as did the visitors, and goals from Matt Ritchie and Yoan Gouffran, either side of the half-hour mark, gave Rafa Benitez’s men a place in the last 16.
Ritchie opened the scoring in the 29th minute with a low shot, and Gouffran volleyed a Ritchie cross home to see off Wolves two minutes later.
“We make a big gift in a couple of minutes and the game was over,” admitted Zenga.
“We made two mistakes in defensive situations and when you do that it is difficult to come back.
“The finish for the second goal is very nice, but the situation leading to it is from our big mistake when we lost the ball.
“We cannot do it in that way just after we have gone 1-0 behind.
“Before they scored we had a great chance with a one-v-one against the keeper and in the second half we had more when the game opened up.”
Home boss Benitez hailed Gouffran, who could have left in the summer.
Newcastle have won every game the 30-year-old has featured in this season.
Asked about his goal, Benitez said: “I am always happy when any player plays well, but in this case, Gouff has been working very hard from the beginning.
“He didn’t know what would happen in the future, but he was still working hard so I am happy for him. He has been scoring great goals, especially from volleys, so that is good.
“It is important for us, and for the players, to feel that there is a lot of competition.
“That is good for everyone. The players know they have to go on the pitch and do their best, and it doesn’t matter about the competition or the game.
“That is a key factor if we want to be strong and successfully manage the number of games we are going to play this year.”
Benitez’s priority is promotion, but he feels his team is capable of going further in the EFL Cup.
“The fans will want to hear that we will go and win the final, and it could be easy for me to say that,” said Benitez.
“What I would say is that we want to be ambitious, and we want to go for every game and try to win. If we cannot, we cannot, but we will try.
“We have the right players. We changed eight players, but we could still compete. That is my idea – to make sure we can play a strong team that can compete against anyone.
“If we go forward in the competition, we will challenge and we will try. If we cannot (succeed), it is maybe because we are not strong enough to go further, but we will try. I cannot promise anything, only that we will try to win.”
Asked about debutants Daryl Murphy and Achraf Lazaar, Benitez added: “They worked very hard, which is what you would expect from them.
“Sometimes, on their debut, players can have a fantastic game or they can do nothing. What they always have to do is work hard, and they did it. They did their jobs.”
Meanwhile, Newcastle have had their appeal over Vurnon Anita’s dismissal against Wolves in the Championship rejected.
Anita, banned for last night, will also miss the Championship games against Aston Villa (this Saturday) and Norwich City.
Newcastle: Darlow, Yedlin, Hanley, Clark, Lazaar, Shelvey, Colback, Ritchie (Lascelles 86), Diame (Perez 72), Gouffran (Atsu 75), Murphy. Subs not used: Dummett, Hayden, Woodman, Mitrovic. Booked: Gouffran, Perez. Goals: Ritchie 29, Gouffran 31.
Wolves: Lonergan, Silvio, Hause, Iorfa, Borthwick-Jackson, Saville, Joao Teixeira (John 46), Coady, Wallace (Bodvarsson 78), Gladon, Mason (Price 63). Subs not used: Ikeme, Doherty, Batth, Oniangue. Booked: Saville.
Ref: Andy Woolmer (Northamptonshire).