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Proud Bradford City boss Phil Parkinson turns his attention to promotion
Phil Parkinson is convinced City can still enjoy a glorious end to the season after their Wembley heartache.
The Bantams were thrashed 5-0 in the Capital One Cup final as Swansea ran rampant to destroy their dream of silverware.
But Parkinson refused to let the heavy defeat dent his pride in going all the way from the first round. And he insists the team will bounce straight back to relaunch their League Two push.
He said: “When teams have good cup runs, it has a detrimental effect on your league form. It’s only natural when you’ve got a small squad like us.
“We’ve got 15 games to go – a third of the season – and I firmly believe we’ve got a good enough squad to go on a run and mount a challenge.
“We’re going to take every game in a really positive frame of mind and see where it takes us. Come Wednesday, we’ll be ready for Dagenham & Redbridge and we’ll make sure everybody understands the importance of that game.
“I firmly believe this team is good enough to be a lot higher in the league but we’ve got a lot of games in hand.”
City were never in it against Michael Laudrup’s classy Swans, who celebrated their centenary with a first major trophy. They also finished with ten men after keeper Matt Duke was sent off for tripping Jonathan De Guzman in the penalty area.
Parkinson added: “The lads were a bit down in the dressing room because we’re a better team than that but I told them to get their heads up.
"The highlight for me was the way the supporters stayed behind the team throughout the game. I think everybody realised what an enormous achievement this has been.
“I would love to be talking about a great performance and a great game but what Swansea did to us they’ve done to Premier League teams.
“I spoke to a lot of managers about them and everyone kept coming back to me saying there aren’t many weaknesses in this team. It was very tough on that big Wembley pitch.”
Parkinson felt referee Kevin Friend could have spared Duke with the game effectively over by that stage.
“He could use a bit of discretion and just give Matt a yellow card. That would have sufficed.
“There was a penalty given against us and with the greatest respect, I don’t think at that stage we were going to come back and win 5-4.
“There were things we could have done better obviously but it was a big day for the lads and I don’t want to be critical of anybody.
“One of the Swansea player’s wages probably covers our budget for the whole season. That’s the kind of gulf we were dealing with.
“The lads have been a credit the way they’ve conducted themselves through this extra exposure, which has been unprecedented for a team at our level.”
City have scooped around £2.5m from their cup success and Parkinson believes that will give them a firm financial footing for the future, even if they miss out on going up this time.
“The big picture for us as a club is the revenue we’ve earned from this cup run can strengthen us for years to come. The money we’ve earned is way above our wildest dreams.”
James Hanson admitted that City had suffered from stage fright.
The big striker said: “It’s just a shame we couldn’t get at them a bit more often and at least have a couple of shots.
“We deserved this day, it was just a shame we got beaten so heavily.”