WES BROWN admits there was still a huge sense of dejection in the Sunderland dressing room after the Capital One Cup final, despite the Black Cats doing themselves proud.
Sunderland threatened to end their 41-year trophy drought when they held a half-time advantage against Manchester City, before the Premier League title contenders netted three times after the break.
Both Gus Poyet and his players were quick to stress how pleased they were to have done themselves credit after Man City had lifted the trophy.
But centre-half Brown, decorated with domestic and European honours during his time at Manchester United, was still rueful that Sunderland missed out on silverware.
Brown said: “The lads can all keep their heads high, but I’ve always said that when you get to this stage, it’s all about winning. We are all disappointed.
“I know we did well to get here, but we are very disappointed, especially the way we played in the first half.
“We definitely gave it a go.
“We knew it was going to be tough and we all had to give 100 per cent if we were going to get anything out of the game.
“But there are two teams on the pitch and considering we took the lead, it’s a little bit disappointing that we couldn’t score the second goal and make it even more difficult.”
Brown says Sunderland were bracing themselves for an onslaught from Man City after they reemerged for the second half, particularly as Manuel Pellegrini’s side were out-fought and out-thought during the opening 45 minutes.
But the 34-year-old, who returned to the starting XI after suspension, says there was nothing Sunderland could do to counter the quality of City’s first two goals.
“Man City had a lot of the ball, but we managed to counter-attack them on quite a few occasions and made the most of one of them with the goal,” added the former England international.
“We maybe could have got a second and that would have given us a huge boost for the second half, but it wasn’t meant to be.
“We always knew they were going to come out in the second half and they scored two fantastic goals.
“Then it was a case of knuckling down for 10 to 15 minutes and we needed to shake it off and get back into it.
“We had a couple of half chances late on, but the two goals absolutely killed us.
“I always think it’s going to take top quality goals to win finals, and they were.
“Even when he (Yaya Toure) was shooting, I was thinking we were okay, but he managed to put it in the top bin.
“It’s just the way it goes. In that sort of sense, we are disappointed, but they were fantastic goals to get them into the lead.”