GLENN WHELAN stressed that Stoke City will do everything in their power to bounce straight back from the disappointment of being knocked out of the FA Cup . . . when they host Wigan Athletic on Tuesday evening.
The Potters bowed out of the FA Cup at the fourth round stage as Argentinean international Pablo Zabaleta struck home a late winner to secure Champions Manchester City a spot in the last sixteen of the competition.
Speaking following the encounter, Whelan said that whilst he was disappointed to have been eliminated from the FA Cup, he believes it could prove to be a blessing in disguise in the chase of a first-ever top-ten finish.
“We have to dust ourselves down now, and bounce straight back because we have a massive game coming up on Tuesday,” the Republic of Ireland ace said.
“It would have been nice to have progressed in the FA Cup, because we have seen what it can do for the Club. Sadly though, it just wasn’t to be for us this year.
“We have performed well over the last few years in this competition by reaching two quarter-finals and a Final, so we can be proud of that achievement.”
He added: “The Premier League is the bread and butter though, and we can now fully focus our attentions on that and aim to get as high up the league table as we possibly can. We want to get into the top half this year, and hopefully we can achieve that now.”
The 29-year-old also feels that boss Tony Pulis was right to deploy a more attacking approach during the latter stages of the game, in a final effort to secure a spot in Sunday’s Fifth Round draw.
“We opened things up a little to try and push for the winner, because we knew that we would be up against it going to the Etihad, where our record isn’t great,” added Whelan.
“It’s hard to take though, especially when you concede so late in the game, but we knew we had to give it a go with the clock beginning to tick down.
“Unfortunately for us, they got the goal in the last five minutes. Ryan Shotton was unlucky to slip over, and Zabaleta, who has been a goal machine of late finishes it well.
"We just have to move on and bounce back from it; and I am sure we will.”