PHIL Bardsley has admitted Sunderland got what they deserved in their FA Cup defeat by Bolton and refused to make any excuses for the result.
The captain for Tuesday night’s replay didn’t try to hide away from the fact that a 2-0 reverse at the hands of a Championship side was anything other than a “disaster” for his club.
Sunderland manager Martin O’Neill, who was noticeably upset after the match, did question the penalty that led to Bolton’s first goal, when Jack Colback appeared to touch the ball as he tackled Darren Pratley on the edge of the box.
But Bardsley was having none of it and insisted the Black Cats had nobody to blame but themselves.
He said: “We are thoroughly disappointed in our performance. We weren’t at our best at all. We were comfortable in the first half and had our chances, but in these games you need to score goals and we didn’t do that.
“It was a great performance on Saturday (against West Ham) and to go out of the cup just a few days later is a real disaster for us. We’ll have to dust ourselves down and get ready for this Saturday and Wigan.
“The FA Cup gave us a great buzz last year, but we’ve let ourselves down this time. We’ve paid the price and are out of the cup.
“The whole place was a little bit flat during the game, but we can’t blame losing on that because the performance wasn’t what it should have been. We’ve got to turn our attention back to the league and look to the top ten.
“For the rest of the season that will be the aim – finish as high up the table a possible.”
As for the decision that gave
Bolton’s two-goal Marvin Sordell the chance to score his first from the penalty sport, Bardsley said: “That’s what happens.
“In this day and age if you go to ground in the box you’re asking the ref to make a decision and you can’t really blame him, the challenge makes it hard for him. He has to make his mind up there and then to make a decision. Unfortunately Jack has gone to ground.”
Bardsley admitted that the Sunderland squad is in desperate need for more players, even after the arrivals of Alfred N’Diaye (pictured below) and Kader Mangane.
The Journal understands that Danny Graham would have to hand in an official transfer request to Swansea if his move to the Stadium of Light were to go through.
The striker wants to leave Wales, but his club will not allow that this month unless they land a replacement.
Unless something dramatic happens in the next few days, it is hard to see anything other than this proposed move going to the wire during this transfer window.
Louis Saha has been released and James McFadden is set to follow him out the door, with Nottingham Forest his probable destination.
Sunderland are eyeing up a £2m bid for Barnsley’s 18-year-old right-back John Stones, but his club are looking for nearer £4m.
Winger Ahmed Elmohamady was yesterday recalled from his loan spell at Hull City.
Bardsley said: “It’s nice to have seen a couple of players arrive and it’s absolutely vital we get more fresh faces in. We’ve not got the largest squad in the world so it’s up to us as a club to get players in.
“That will help and hopefully the lads who’ve arrived this week will be able to show what they can do.
“We’ve still got things to play for and still got some big games coming up in the second half of the season. It’s up to us to dust ourselves down and go again.
“The most disappointing thing is that in both of the cup competitions we’ve gone out in games we’d have backed ourselves to win.
“No disrespect to Bolton, but with them coming here we thought we had a great chance. It wasn’t to be, unfortunately, and we let ourselves down.
“We’ll be wanting to win as many games as we can. It’s a tough league but I’m sure with the players we’ve got we can dust ourselves down and go again. It’ll be a tough game at the weekend but it’s up to us to go to places like that and get a result.
“The players in the squad are capable of dusting themselves down.”