Aston Villa manager Martin O'Neill was desperately disappointed that his side had once again succumbed to the curse of Manchester United and bombed out of the FA Cup but said he still hoped his young English talent had done enough to impress England's new manager Fabio Capello who was watching from the stands.
O'Neill's side capitulated to two late goals thanks to the Rooney and Ronaldo show after 80 minutes of football which to everyone in the stands looked like heading to a replay at Old Trafford.
The Villa manager had felt Villa might earn themselves a replay at last after meet-ing and being defeated by United three times now in five years of FA Cup third round meetings.
O'Neill said: "I don't think we deserved to lose it. I don't think we did enough to win it either but obviously I am bitterly disappointed.
"We didn't put them under sustained pressure but, by the same token, I don't think Manchester United did us either."
The match was a far cry from the one the two sides played out in the Premier League this autumn when Villa led for 30 minutes through a Gabriel Agbonlahor goal before nine minutes of madness saw United back in the game.
Villa ended up with just nine men left on the field and were eventually beaten 4-1.
This time the two sides were at stalemate for much of the match with few chances created before Sir Alex Ferguson decided to bring on substitute Wayne Rooney.
O'Neill said: "I felt before the game that we could win it and I genuinely felt at half-time that we could still win it."
The Northern Irishman refused to believe that his young players might have felt the pressure of the England manager's presence and that might have affected them.
"It never entered my head that they were trying too hard but I am not 21 and trying to play for England, " he said.
"We are disappointed because we are better than that performance. Even though we had plenty of determination about us, we didn't do enough.
"I really don't know what impression my players made on Fabio Capello but he will have plenty of time to assess all the England players. When the main business starts for him in August or September he will have had all the time in the world."