Most of the pre-match discussion inside Molineux centred around which part of Wembley we’ll all be sat come 4pm on Sunday.
Nuno, it emerged, couldn’t see further than his seat in the home Molineux dug-out on Tuesday.
Staying ‘umble’ and taking each day as it comes could be scribed into the great man’s obituary, but this was more proof of his philosophy at work as his dark eyes fixated on the Red Devils – and not a stone was left unturned in beating them.
If the cup game was a full orchestral symphony, this league fixture was more a chart topping single, and no less effective in rousing the senses. But unlike ’04 and ’11, this was no one-hit-wonder. Nope, this latest classic joins a signature album full of results like these from a season that has already gone platinum.
In many ways, this was an even more impressive win than the memorable quarter final scalp, if that was even possible, with United hellbent on reversing the cup defeat and presumably learning lessons from the chastening experience. McTominay and Fred, in for the more pedestrian Matic and Herrera, certainly hinted that this might be the case.
The evening only just lacked the pomp and ceremony of the ethereal FA Cup night but the sense of occasion was still there, as Molineux crackled under the lights that used to illuminate such fixtures so regularly. And like our quarter final encounter, we gradually seized momentum as the game progressed, albeit in different circumstances.
It might have been different had United taken some gilt edged early chances, as Lingard set the tone with a decent half chance after only 10 seconds. McTominay’s long range strike was scant reward for a dominant opening in which Lukaku and Lingard were both denied from Patricio.
But fortune favours the brave, in this case Nuno for fielding a full-strength side when some of us might have recommended a bit R&R for our big hitters.
Fitting then, that Raul and Jota combined yet again for the equaliser, while the deliciously good Moutinho whipped a cross in for a combination of arms and legs to poke the ball over the line in the second half. A red card for Ashley Young underlined our second half supremacy with Jota causing problems individually, while the collective of Dendoncker, Moutinho and Neves were irresistible in wrestling back momentum.
By the final peep of the excellent Mike Dean’s whistle, we were in total command just like we were on March 16th when the same Tears for Fears track greeted the same 2-1 outcome.
‘Everybody wants to rule the world,’ we sung with joy. Not a bad soundtrack with Jorge Mendes watching!