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The Aston Villa manager had previously indicated that the competition was an unhelpful distraction but is adamant that their defeat to Sheffield United was against their plan

Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert insists that his side's FA Cup exit to Sheffield United was not what they wanted.

The Scot had indicated before the tie that he could "do without" the competition - which, he feels, can distract from the priority of the Premier League - but is adamant that he put out his strongest possible team despite going on to lose 2-1 at home.

The top-flight team look to have spared their blushes when Nicklas Helenius cancelled out Jamie Murphy's early opener but Ryan Flynn lashed home 10 minutes from the end to delight the League One outfit and dump the hosts out at the third round.

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Asked after the game about his earlier comments, Lambert told the press: "I was asked a question, which the journalist in question actually regrets asking. He knew the context in which I was talking.

"I never decried the FA Cup in any shape or form. I never demeaned the competition. I respect its history. I put out the strongest team I could do to try to win the game. The FA Cup is a brilliant competition and everybody wants to do well in it.

"If you look at my own career, I won things in cup competitions. I won a few leagues here and there but actually won competitions so I am not degrading it.

"I don't think we did enough to go through and that is me being honest," he added. "Good luck to Sheffield United in the next round. We never did enough to go through.

"We had a lot of the ball and huffed and puffed. It was one of those kind of games.

"I know [an upset] can happen and it is not a great feeling when things like that happen to you."

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