Sunderland just couldn’t counter Bradford’s tactics

Bradford City's Jon Stead score his side's second goal during the FA Cup Fifth Round match at the Valley Parade.
Bradford City's Jon Stead score his side's second goal during the FA Cup Fifth Round match at the Valley Parade.

WES BROWN admits Bradford City’s approach came as no surprise to Sunderland, but the Black Cats simply didn’t do enough to counter it.

Red-faced Sunderland were dumped out of the FA Cup at Valley Parade yesterday after League One Bradford deservedly booked their place in the quarter finals.

Backed by a hostile home crowd, Bradford won the physical battle with Sunderland, adapted to the conditions better and twice preyed upon the defensive deficiencies of the visitors.

Although referee Kevin Friend failed to award Sunderland a blatant first half spot-kick, the Black Cats had little answer, with veteran centre-half Brown acknowledging that Gus Poyet’s side now desperately need to bounce back in this weekend’s crunch Premier League clash against West Brom.

Brown told the Echo: “If I’m being honest, Bradford played exactly how we thought they would.

“They’re used to doing that and adapted to the pitch a bit better.

“If we’d got the penalty, maybe the game would have changed.

“But we just didn’t do enough.

“We’re a Premiership team and we’re playing Bradford, no disrespect to Bradford.

“We knew what sort of game it was going to be and they certainly did that.

“We have to lift ourselves now and we make sure we get the points on Saturday.

“Obviously you’re disappointed, but you have to remember that football is football.

“In the next game you can help yourself and get back into it.

“All the lads are very disappointed, but we didn’t do enough.”

On the notoriously ropey Valley Parade pitch, Sunderland got off to the worst possible start when John O’Shea deflected Billy Clarke’s shot into his own net inside the opening three minutes.

Although Steven Fletcher was bundled over by Bradford skipper Rory McArdle eight yards out – after needlessly dallying in acres of space – the Bantams remained the more dangerous side and doubled their advantage in the second half through ex-Sunderland striker Jon Stead.

“It’s not a pitch where we could play our game,” added Brown.

“They got the early goal, put a lot of pressure on us and we had to adapt our game and play a lot more direct.

“But Bradford did really well and put a lot of pressure on us.

“They did it better than us. We’re going to have to deal with that now.

“We’re disappointed to be out to Bradford”

. I thought they were fantastic and made it very difficult.

“It’s never ideal conceding so early, but we were still in the game and should have had a penalty.

“But it didn’t happen and second half, we tried to put some pressure on them, and they managed to get the second goal.

“The fans were brilliant again. They still come down to support us and we appreciate all the effort they put in to do that.

“We’re going to keep on going and try to get three points in the next game.”