PHIL Parkinson summed up City's late JP Trophy exit at Oldham and insisted: "We didn't deserve to go out."
Jordan Bove's 88th-minute goal sent the Bantams tumbling out of the competition at the first stage for the second year running.
Parkinson thought defeat at Boundary Park was harsh on his side, who had hit the post through Mark Yeates.
He said: "I think that was the first shot they had. I can't remember them threatening the goal otherwise in the whole 90 minutes.
"We had good spells where we just needed to get that goal to kill off the game.
"But I can't fault the attitude of the lads. We worked really hard and there were some good performances.
"It was a cruel way to go out because we got punished for the one slip-up we made."
French defender Christopher Routis, one of five changes from the Rochdale game, looked impressive on his debut.
Parkinson said: "He's a very good player and I'm really pleased. He's a terrific professional who will be a good acquisition.
"I never really doubted that he would play well. I was looking forward to watching him play on this stage and, in general, I thought his performance was very good.
"The players who played needed to play for us going forward. We've got a lot of games coming up.
"For Christopher, that was his first game since Bradford Park Avenue. Olly McBurnie hadn't played one minute of football in pre-season."
McBurnie went close to scoring his first senior goal and City had other half-chances. Parkinson always felt they were the most likely winners until late substitute Bove had other ideas.
"We hit the post and they made two or three blocks in and around the penalty spot," said the City boss.
"Jason Kennedy hit one that was going in and their lad threw himself in the way – you've got to give the defenders credit.
"Olly had a header from six yards in the first half which he went in for bravely and was unlucky. So if you look at the two teams, we were the one who created all the chances on the night.
"Financially, you have to almost get to the final before you make any money in this competition. It's not a devastating blow but we wanted to progress."