Blackburn boss Tony Mowbray admits being knocked out of the Carabao Cup may be “a blessing in disguise” after conceding an injury-time goal in the 3-2 defeat at Bournemouth.
Cherries substitute Callum Wilson headed home four minutes into added time to prevent a penalty shoot-out at the Vitality Stadium.
Junior Stanislas’ early strike and a penalty from Jordon Ibe looked to have put the Premier League hosts on course for a straightforward passage to the last 16 of the competition.
But Rovers captain Craig Conway lashed home and Adam Armstrong converted a spot-kick to set up a nervy finish.
The Sky Bet Championship visitors also had defender Derrick Williams sent off in added time for an inexplicable deliberate handball as Wilson looked to break clear.
“I’m not sitting here overly concerned about the Carabao Cup,” said Mowbray, who made six changes on the south coast.
“We left our front five all at home tonight ready for the weekend, ultimately it’s disappointing because you want to try and win football matches and I thought we competed pretty well.
“Ultimately, it might be a blessing in disguise to get out of this competition so we don’t have to do five-and-a-half-hour trips down to the south coast so we can concentrate on our league games.”
After Stanislas – starting for the first time since suffering a serious knee injury in March – lashed the home side ahead, they doubled their advantage from a debatable penalty after Darragh Lenihan was penalised for an innocuous-looking challenge on Ibe.
Mowbray was baffled by the decision of referee Simon Hooper.
“I thought their penalty was a shocking decision but there you go, we move on, let’s get on the bus, let’s get home and get ready for Saturday,” he added.
“I’ve watched it five times, it’s never a penalty in a million years but he’s given it, it’s in the history books, we have to get on with it.”
Wilson’s late header from Marc Pugh’s corner returned Bournemouth to winning ways following Saturday’s 4-0 drubbing at Burnley.
Cherries manager Howe, who made nine changes to his starting XI on Tuesday, was pleased with his team’s display but said the heavy defeat to the Clarets was still on his mind
“We desperately needed a performance tonight after the Burnley game, of course we needed a reaction,” he said.
“You feel better but still Burnley is not far away in my thoughts. That’s just how I am and until we put that right in the Premier League that will still be with me.”
He added: “I’d say (tonight) 90 per cent was positive. I thought we played some good football and then suddenly bang, bang, we concede two goals.
“Only we could do that to ourselves. We shot ourselves in the foot twice, made some bad decisions and then it’s in the balance.
“And then you’re thinking the lottery of a penalty shoot-out was going to be the outcome of the game and it should never have been in that position.
“But credit the players again because we get ourselves in these positions and sometimes we get out of that hole we’re in because of our attitude, because of our spirit.”