Southampton lost 1-0 to Sunderland in the fifth-round of the FA Cup on Saturday afternoon, with Craig Gardner scoring the only goal of the game.
The result continued the Black Cats' excellent form under Gus Poyet, and set them up for a potential Wembley double with a place in the League Cup final against Manchester City already secure.
Opposing manager Mauricio Pochettino made a number of changes to the Southampton side, with the likes of Artur Boruc, Calum Chambers, Jay Rodriguez and Morgan Schneiderlin either on the bench or not in the match-day squad.
And it was a gamble that did not pay off, with the Saints crashing out of a cup they had a realistic chance of challenging for given the sides still in the competition.
That was certainly the feeling of Michael Owen, who took to Twitter after the match to express his disappointment at Pochettino's team-selection and questioning if the manager understood the importance of the FA Cup.
Wouldn't be best pleased if I were a Saints fan. Never going to win the League but definitely safe. The Cups are the only realistic thing— michael owen (@themichaelowen) February 15, 2014
they can win yet Pochetino rests half of his team. Quarter Final place up for grabs. He mustn't realise how important The FA Cup is.— michael owen (@themichaelowen) February 15, 2014
With little to play for in the Premier League, it would have made sense for Southampton to attempt a push for a cup win, especially given the performances of their young side this season.
And yet instead they now find themselves out of the competition and looking up at an 11 point gap between them and European qualification.
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