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MANAGER: Extremely proud of everybody

6 January 2014

Manager on the Sunderland FA Cup game

Manager Graham Kavanagh spoke to us following the FA Cup third round defeat against Sunderland at the Stadium of Light on Sunday.

"We're disappointed but I'm extremely proud of everybody connected to our football club today," he said. "The lads performed to their maximum and gave everything. They worked extremely hard, and they're all disappointed to come away with nothing, but there were a lot of good performances out there today. 

"We came up short in the end because we knew we had to go and chase the game. I thought we gave them a few scares in the first half and we deserved to go into the break on level terms. 

"I was pleased after their goal went in because we saw a great response from the lads. You always wonder what is going to happen when the big team gets the first goal but we didn't let them overrun us and that was very pleasing to see. 

"We set up to press them when we could and we caught them on the counter and scored a very good goal. I knew they'd try and change things in the second half but I thought the referee's performance was very poor. 

"He didn't give us any decisions and that was optimised by their second goal. Tom Lawrence had the ball and their full back just ran across his line but. for some reason, the referee didn't give it. They then went straight up the other end and scored. 

"We went three at the back just before their third goal because I knew we had to go for it, so you take that on the chin." 

"Sunderland became more prominent as we chased the game and on the whole they deserved to win it," he told us. "We were in the game for such a long period of time so we're disappointed to come away with nothing to show for our efforts. 

"The most pleasing thing was that we had 6,000 fans who got right behind the team and we responded by giving them something to shout about. I hope they've gone away feeling as proud of their club as we do."

"I know they're struggling in the league but Sunderland are a team full of quality," he insisted. "They moved the ball very well and they were very intelligent with it. Mind you, I don't think I'm being biased when I say we looked the better team for large periods of the game. 

"We had the better chances in the first half and it was disappointing that we couldn't take a few more of them. The overriding feeling at this moment is one of pride and one where we know we can go on and push up the league."

"The fact that the fans were still singing after their third goal went in probably shows how much they appreciate the effort we've shown," he commented. "A run in the FA Cup is always important for clubs like us and hopefully this will help us financially. 

"When you come to a Premier League team it's important not to get battered because it can affect confidence. The lads are disappointed in the dressing room but I have no doubt about the fact that they'll gain confidence from this performance. 

"If we can do that on a consistent basis we'll be a match for anyone in our league, and that's exactly what we need to do now. It's all about building blocks and we started that process three months ago. 

"It will take a while to implement our ideas but I think we're getting there. We haven't had a settled back four and goalkeeper since I got the job which is something I'm really hoping we can achieve."

"I'll go and watch Leyton Orient on Tuesday night," he said. "They lost on Saturday but I'm not sure if they changed their team around. With the performance we had today we'll be going there and looking to get something out of the game."

"I really appreciate the support we've received from the fans today," he told us. "I hope we've made every single one of them proud of our football club. I was told today that in the history of the Stadium of Light only Hartlepool, who are obviously much closer, have brought more fans here than we did. 

"That says a lot when you consider the Newcastle game and the other top Premier League teams that have been here. They should all be proud of themselves and I only hope that they now feel they can come to Brunton Park and help us make it a fortress. That's something which we all want to do. 

"I'd like to thank all of the fans and say that we're all disappointed about the result, but the performance bodes well for the future."

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