PHIL Bardsley promises Sunderland will not underestimate the danger Manchester City pose at the Capital One Cup final this weekend.
But, likewise, he insists the Black Cats will not be the tame outfit that was so easily rolled over by Arsenal last Saturday.
The Wearsiders were walloped 4-1 by the Gunners at the Emirates in what was the worst possible dress rehearsal for this Sunday’s Wembley showpiece.
But Bardsley says Sunderland are determined to be a different proposition on their return to London.
“I don’t think we touched the ball at the Emirates in the first five minutes, which doesn’t help, but we won’t be making that mistake again,” the former Manchester United full-back told the Echo.
“We’ve been very good against the top teams generally so the Arsenal game was almost a surprise.
“We just weren’t at the races at all, but we’ve had a couple of days to reflect now and put that behind us.
“We were poor from start to finish and, as a team, you win together and you lose together – it’s not about pointing fingers at certain individuals.
“But everyone has got to look hard at themselves, work harder than we did that day, retain the ball better and show the attitude that has got us to Wembley.
“We didn’t do that on Saturday and we paid the price, but we dust ourselves off, work hard in training and look forward to the final.”
Bardsley says that this Sunday, the Sunderland that turns up at Wembley has to be the one that performed so memorably at Old Trafford in the semi-final second leg last month.
“The semi-final was a bit special all round, wasn’t it?” he recalled.
“It was us at our best.
“From the first moment we were drawn against Manchester United, I had a sneaking feeling we were going to do it and, fortunately, we did.
“I didn’t imagine it would be quite as dramatic as it was, but I don’t mind about that, now that we’re through to the final!
“It was a topsy-turvy game, but it was emotionally and physically draining with extra time and penalties – it was an insane night, but we were at our very best and hopefully it will be just as good on Sunday.
“Man United, Man City – they are top teams and top players and if you are going to do something against them you have to be at our very best.
“We know that, and that’s what we’re focusing on.”
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