PHIL Bardsley admitted Sunderland had been fortunate to keep Manchester United down to two goals yesterday, and urged his team-mates to bounce back tomorrow, writes STUART RAYNER.
Bardsley’s old club were in rampant form, but seemed happy to settle for 2-0 after striking the woodwork on a couple of occasions.
“They were fantastic in the first half, they hit the bar and the post and when players like Rooney and Berbatov are on that form if you give them time and space they’ll punish you,” he said.
“You’ve got to hang in there and we were much better in the second half. To be honest, they had a lot of possession and it could have been a lot more, but let’s just go again.”
Dimitar Berbatov opened the scoring in the fifth minute at Old Trafford yesterday, and it was his shot which deflected off Anton Ferdinand for United’s second goal of an embarrassingly comfortable victory. It was Sunderland’s fourth defeat of the season, and the last three were followed by wins. The hectic Christmas schedule has played into their hands a little, with Blackpool at the Stadium of Light tomorrow.
“It’s all about how you bounce back,” said Manchester-born Bardsley. “We’ve got to be in the right frame of mind, and I’m sure we will be against Blackpool.
“We’ve got good characters in the dressing room, it’s a good set of players who want to work hard for each other. It’s a lot of games in a short period of time, but that’s what we get paid to do.”
Sunderland are unbeaten at home this season, and after Blackpool they have another game on Wearside, with Blackburn Rovers the New Year’s Day visitors.
“We’re confident because we’re a good team at home and hopefully we can continue that,” said Bardsley. “Blackpool have been doing okay, but hopefully we can crack on at the Stadium of Light.”