DEJECTED Jack Colback admits Sunderland have been left with a “bitter pill to swallow” after blowing another golden opportunity to reach the latter stages of a cup competition.
Sunderland were dumped out of the Capital One Cup by neighbours Middlesbrough last night after another powder-puff attacking display from the Wearsiders.
It was the second time in seven months that Sunderland have been eliminated from a cup competition with a whimper after Everton prevailed at the Stadium of Light in last season’s FA Cup quarter-final replay.
But with Martin O’Neill’s side drawn at home against Championship opposition, and a place available in the quarter-finals of a competition which has already seen Manchester City and Everton eliminated – with one of Manchester United or Chelsea joining them tonight – Colback knows the magnitude of another dismal derby display.
Colback told the Echo: “That wasn’t good enough. We didn’t create enough and we have missed a massive opportunity. It’s a bitter pill to swallow.
“We weren’t good enough all over the pitch. We made mistakes we shouldn’t be making. We shouldn’t be nervous because we’ve played the game long enough now and should be able to deal with that pressure.
“We wanted to do well in this competition. We missed a big chance last season in the FA Cup and this is another missed opportunity.
“We want to play in finals and a few Premier League teams have dropped out of this cup.
“It was a chance. We were at home and we expected to win the game. We let down ourselves and the fans.
“And you want to win derby games.
“We were disappointed not to beat Newcastle and now this.”
Colback was candid enough to admit Sunderland are lacking confidence in the final third after registering a blank for the third time in four games.
After Scott McDonald deservedly handed Boro a first-half lead, Sunderland monopolised possession in the second half, but never genuinely stretched opposition goalkeeper Jason Steele.
“We had most of the play and didn’t really create any gilt-edge chances,” added Colback, deployed at left-back after on-loan Spurs defender Danny Rose missed out through injury.
“We are not worried about that too much because we know we have the players who can create and we believe it will come.
“Maybe confidence is a slight issue. Winning games does breed confidence and we have only had the one win in the league.
“Sometimes you can overplay a bit and maybe we try to play a pass when we should take a shot. If you don’t shoot, you are never going to score.
“We are working hard, but that not enough. We are not really performing at the moment and we do have some great players, international players in our team.”