Phil Parkinson verdict on dire Gillingham FA Cup exit as he addresses Sunderland's lack of goal threat
Phil Parkinson says it is up to him to lift the Sunderland squad ahead of a crunch double-header in League One against Coventry City and Burton Albion.
Sunderland were dumped out of the FA Cup at the first round stage for the first time in almost a century last night, a dire 1-0 loss at Gillingham, with the Black Cats now out of all three cup competitions.
Brandon Hanlan scored the only goal in extra-time, with attentions now turning to reviving the league campaign.
Parkinson said: “It’s up to me to pick the lads up now and make sure I can get the right performance out of us at the weekend.
“Obviously, the lads are disappointed because we put a lot of effort in and we’ve got nothing for those efforts.
“We’ve got to look at why, but we’ve also got to take the positives of the good things that we did do, and the performances of the youngsters, particularly Brandon [Taylor], who performed so well.
“We were severely depleted, we were missing ten players, that’s the facts.
“But when we get back to the training ground on Thursday morning, the international players will be back, (Joel) Lynch, (Jordan) Willis and (George) Dobson will be back training, and Marc McNulty has a chance for the weekend too.
“All of a sudden, the squad looks better as we head into what is undoubtedly going to be an important period for us.”
Sunderland failed to muster a single shot on target in 120 minutes, the lack of goals and threat in the final third a growing concern.
Parkinson said: “In the first half in particular, we got in some great positions to produce a cross to enable us to get a chance.
“But one went in the keeper’s arms and another, we just delayed it for a second and it ended up going out for a corner.
“Ultimately, those moments decide football games. They’re the key players in the final third that, in a 100 miles an hour type of game, have to show that moment of calmness to produce something.”
Sunderland were beaten by Oldham Athletic in 1923-24 the last time they exited the FA Cup in round one.