Wolves in dreamland after hitting new heights

Millwall keeper David Martin lets Solly March’s freekick slip through his fingers to give Brighton a last-gasp equaliser

  Nuno Espirito Santo had a dream, and on Saturday night at Molineux the vision was there for the world to see in high definition.

These are dizzying, heady times for Wolverhampton Wanderers and reaching their first FA Cup semi-final since 1998 after their 2-1 win over Manchester United represents their finest moment since Nuno's appointment nearly two years ago.

Wolves owners Fosun's ambitions are at such a high bar that victories over United will eventually be considered the norm, but this was a stirring, momentous experience at the famous old Midlands club.

To put into context the scenes of wild celebration, Wolves reported that seven sets of keys (for house and car) were handed in at reception shortly after the final whistle.

Nuno had heroes everywhere, from the commanding presence of Conor Coady in defence, the guile of midfielder Joao Moutinho (a bargain at just £5 million from Monaco) to the relentless running and power of forwards Raul Jimenez and Diogo Jota.

Coady, perhaps unfortunate not to be named in the England squad last week, has revealed how his pre-match speech in the dressing-room was emphatically followed through.

"The message was to make history, to make sure this team doesn't go unnoticed," he said.

"Players come and go and years down the line more players will come in, but make sure people remember this team.

"We have some unbelievable footballers. Now we're there, everyone should enjoy it.

"That's the proudest I've been for the boys in the dressing-room, all the staff, everyone to do with this football club. I know what this semi-final will give to people. I'm sure we'll now have 40,000 people cheering us on at Wembley."

Wolves could have sold out Molineux twice over for the visit of United on Saturday, so Wembley can be assured of an Old Gold invasion next month.

Nuno has been rewarded for taking this competition seriously by fielding strong teams, unlike so many of his Premier League peers, and their record against the top teams should provide encouragement for the semi-final.

How important that last-minute equaliser from Matt Doherty in the 2-2 draw at Shrewsbury Town in the fourth round appears now.

While Molineux was awash with elation on Saturday, there will also have been celebrations in Mexico after the man-of-the-match performance from Jimenez.

Wolves' following in that part of Latin America has risen astronomically since the signing of Jimenez on loan from Benfica - at one point last year the Facebook page had 265,000 followers living in Mexico, compared to 112,000 in the UK.

Jimenez is now looking to extend his unbeaten run at Wembley.

"It's a stadium that has good memories for me. In 2012 we won the gold medal with Mexico (at the Olympics with a 2-1 win over Brazil) and then with the last win against Tottenham (in December)," he said.

"It's very important for us to have that experience that we can do it against anyone. We are fighting for our dream. Together we can do special things."

Jimenez now has 15 goals this season, after lighting the blue touch paper by giving Wolves the lead, and a £30m permanent move to Molineux is close.

He said: "It feels very good to be here. I was looking for this sort of feeling since I arrived in Europe. Now that I have it, I don't want to lose it. ."

Jimenez's opening goal rewarded Wolves' second-half dominance and Diogo Jota then exposed a woeful United by rampaging through for the crucial second.

Jota did not score in the Premier League until December 5 but there were never any doubts over his abilities within the Wolves squad, and he has now been called up to the Portugal senior set-up for the first time.

Marcus Rashford did score with a close-range strike for United in added time but this was a night that belonged to Wolves. For the past 18 months, their supporters have been insisting that Wolves are on the way back - and here was the proof. (© The Daily Telegraph)