“The dressing room is disappointed,” Smalling explained afterwards. “I think the first half went very well and we were on top, playing some good football so a lot of us are disappointed that we didn’t carry that on into the second half, which wasn’t like us.
“We were very confident that we would score today and judging by our first-half performance, we thought we wouldn’t concede either because they didn’t create too many chances - but it was really unlike us not to score.
“In the last half an hour, the game started to stretch which wasn’t ideal for us but before that we felt comfortable as a team and played some good football in the first half. The biggest disappointment is that we didn’t carry that on in the second half. That’s what everyone is really down about.”
Naturally, after defeat in the replay, the mind automatically wanders back to when United were 2-0 up in the initial sixth-round meeting at Old Trafford and seemingly cruising towards the semi-finals - but Smalling says such thinking is futile.
“At the start of the day, we saw this replay as a new challenge and a fresh start so you can’t think about the lead in the first match and what might have been. We need to make sure that we remember this defeat next season and not let it slip again.”