MARCOS ALONSO hopes to banish some ghosts in this weekend’s Capital One Cup final after enduring a miserable first Wembley experience three years ago.
Spanish left-back Alonso was dropped from the Bolton starting XI for their FA Cup semi-final against Stoke City in 2011, despite appearing in every previous round in the Trotters’ march to Wembley.
But that pain was nothing compared to the misery Bolton endured when the game got underway after they were thrashed 5-0 by the Potters.
Alonso is desperate for a more memorable afternoon on Sunday when Sunderland look to follow the achievements of last year’s FA Cup winners Wigan, by upsetting the odds against Manchester City in a Wembley final.
The on-loan Fiorentina defender said: “I’d played in the whole cup run, but when we got to Wembley, I didn’t play.
“And then we got beat 5-0, so it was a bad day!
“But football always gives you another opportunity, so we will see what happens on Sunday.
“Wembley is one of the top stadiums in the world and playing in the cup final, the atmosphere is going to be great.
“It’s an opportunity to show what I’ve got. I won’t get a better chance to play in a better arena.
“We saw last year with Wigan that it’s possible.
“We just have to play how we did away at Man United in the semi-final. If we do that, then we will have a chance.”
Alonso insists Sunderland have been giving “200 per cent” on the training ground this week after a harrowing 4-1 thrashing at Arsenal last Saturday.
The 23-year-old realises the Black Cats must raise their game significantly against Man City after admitting Gus Poyet’s men had half-an-eye on the final at the Emirates.
But Alonso believes Sunderland can learn from that experience as they prepare to face another of the Premier League title contenders.
“We’ve learned and we are more ready for this Sunday I think,” he said.
“After watching back what happened in the 90 minutes on the pitch, it’s the best way to learn, rather than talking about it.
“We’ve also had to train 200 per cent this week and be ready to go onto the pitch on Sunday with more hunger than we showed at Arsenal.
“We gave away the first half and then, it was too late after going 3-0 down at the Emirates.
“Watching it after the game, maybe our minds were on Wembley a little bit. We were maybe more focused on this Sunday, which was our big mistake.
“We didn’t want to press too high, but on the other side, we were not 100 per cent alive in our defending. We also made some silly mistakes, which can happen to anyone.”