Bradford City boss Parkinson helps to lift gloom by creating winning mentality (From Bradford Telegraph and Argus)
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Bradford City boss Phil Parkinson helps to lift gloom by creating winning mentality
Phil Parkinson has done more than just steer City into the first League Cup semi-final in their history.
He has transformed the mindset at a club that had grown too used to failure.
As the Bantams boss looked to bring his players back to terra firma today ahead of the weekend trip to promotion rivals Southend, Parkinson reflected on the huge shift of attitude around Valley Parade.
Changing the collective mood was the priority when he took the job 16 months ago. And now everybody can see the difference.
Parkinson said: “You get that (defeatist) talk when you’ve had so many years of negativity. All you hear is that ‘everyone plays well when they come here’ and ‘we never do this or that’.
“But we had to make our own luck and that started with getting the structure right over the summer.
“You bring in fit, good players who’ve got desire and all of a sudden any nervousness about games is taken away because you’ve got a decent side.”
It has not happened overnight. City were not safe from the spectre of relegation last season until the middle of April.
But Parkinson knew by then how much had to change to turn the club from habitual losers to the serious challengers that one of their size should be.
“We said at the end of the season that the way you alleviate the pressure we had last year was to get a good team.
“Then you’ve got all the staff to put the work in place for them, make sure you’re fit, organised and tactically aware. At the moment that’s what we’ve done and we’ve got to keep it going.”
Parkinson spent a well-earned day off with his family and tried to let the adulation from beating Arsenal sink in. With City’s rammed schedule, time for reflection on how far they have already come is short and sweet.
He added: “When you have midweek games, you hardly spend any time with them from Saturday through until Tuesday.
“I’m sure the players couldn’t wait to see their families either. Nahki Wells’ dad came over from Bermuda and Carl McHugh’s whole family flew in from Ireland – they must be so proud.
“At the moment it’s difficult to grasp the enormity of what we have done. Arsene Wenger brought his best team to Valley Parade and we turned them over.”
The draw for the last four takes place after Leeds have played Chelsea next Wednesday.
Parkinson, who would love a West Yorkshire derby, is ecstatic at the thought of squeezing in two more games for a team that have already played more football than anyone in the country.
“You can’t complain about being in the semi-final of the Capital One Cup. Someone even mentioned Europe to me but I thought they were getting carried away a little bit!
“It’s terrific for everybody and the chairmen are absolutely buoyant. The money we’ll now make on top of what we’ve already got is sensational.”