Sunderland star Bardsley praises Chelsea

Phil Bardsley

Phil Bardsley

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PHIL BARDSLEY believes Chelsea’s second-half bombardment was unstoppable after the reigning champions inflicted Sunderland’s first Premier League defeat of 2011.

Bardsley gave Sunderland hope of doing the double over Chelsea this season when he gave Steve Bruce’s men a fourth-minute lead at the Stadium of Light last night.

But Carlo Ancelotti’s men hit back with two goals in eight minutes and although Kieran Richardson levelled for the Black Cats, Sunderland couldn’t contain a rampant Chelsea in the second half.

Bardsley was quick to praise the quality of Chelsea’s display in the 4-2 victory and hopes Sunderland can get their European hopes back on course at Stoke City on Saturday.

The 25-year-old told the Echo: “In the second half, I think anyone would have struggled to live with them. They were tremendous.

“We didn’t get close enough to them at times, but that’s not to say the lads didn’t work hard. All over the pitch we did our bit.

“We conceded a couple of sloppy goals, but hopefully we can react in the right way on Saturday.

“We were chatting after the game saying how good (Nicolas) Anelka was and if you give someone like that space, he’ll pick a pass out or get a shot off.

“We rode our luck a couple of times and they hit the post but you can’t fault anyone’s effort.”

The left-back added: “Obviously we had a good start, but they’re a top team, aren’t they?

“When you make little mistakes, you get punished.

“That’s why they won the league last year and why they’re competing again this year. But we showed great attitude all over the pitch and, if we take that into future games, we’ve got a great chance of remaining where we are.

“For the neutrals, I bet it was a really good game to watch with both teams going for the throat.

“But I’m sure we’ll respond in the right way on Saturday.

“Against a lot of the top teams this year, we’ve held our own.

“But Stoke is a big game and if we show the right attitude, I’m sure we’ve got half a chance.”

Bardsley’s goal was his second in five games after previously going more than 100 Premier League games without scoring in the top flight.

The former Manchester United man jinked inside John Obi Mikel before curling the ball into the far corner of Petr Cech’s net for his first goal at the Stadium of Light.

“I just cut inside and thought it was worth a crack,” he said.

“Fortunately for me it went in and it was a nice feeling to score at the Stadium of Light, although it’s still disappointing to lose.

“In the last three years, I’ve had my fair share of shots which have gone here, there and everywhere.

“But, in the last few weeks, it must be those Weetabix that have helped me to hit the back of the net!

“Hopefully there’s more to come.”