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Brown urges Black Cats to claw back

03 March 2014, 18:56

London - Sunderland defender Wes Brown has called on his team-mates to use the pain of their League Cup final defeat to ensure they avoid relegation from the Premier League.

Gus Poyet's side had a golden opportunity to earn a shock win over Manchester City in Sunday's final after Fabio Borini's early goal.

Relegation-threatened Sunderland defied their status as pre-match underdogs as they dominated the first half and led for 55 minutes.

But a pair of stunning goals from Yaya Toure and Samir Nasri inside two second-half minutes swung the final in City's favour and they eventually ran out convincing 3-1 winners.

Sunderland could earn themselves another trip to Wembley next weekend when they face Hull in the FA Cup quarter-finals, but securing their Premier League status is the team's main focus.

The Black Cats are languishing in the relegation zone and, asked what Poyet had said in the dressing room after the final whistle, Brown said: "He just said, 'Listen, we have got important games coming up now and if we can play like that in the first half, we can play like that every week'.

"We have just got to take that in and make sure we do it in the league now.

"They scored two fantastic goals and managed to kill us with a third, so it was disappointing.

"But the lads can keep their heads up high and we have to start taking that sort of form we had in the first half into the league now."

Poyet hopes Sunderland's impressive showing against City's star-studded line-up will provide the springboard for a late-season escape act and former Manchester United centre-back Brown sees no reason why that cannot be the case.

"Yes, why not? We can do it against the big teams, so we have just got to keep it going against the teams around us now," he added.

For all Sunderland's best efforts, City's quality eventually told and Brown conceded there was nothing his fellow defenders could do to keep Manuel Pellegrini's side at bay after Toure's brilliant 55th minute equaliser.

"When it's a final, I always think it's going to take top-quality goals to win finals, and they were," Brown said.

"Even when Toure was shooting, I was thinking we were okay, and he managed to put it in the top corner.

"It's just the way it goes. In that sort of sense, we are disappointed, but they were fantastic goals to get them into the lead.

"Considering they scored three goals, they never really had a clear-cut chance in the sense that they got behind us or battered us.

"But that's football, they have got quality players and that's what quality players do.

"At times, we had joy against them especially in the first half, but in the second half you could see we tired a little bit and they were just throwing all the pressure on us, and they scored the three goals."

While Brown focuses on Sunderland's survival bid, Pellegrini's players have more silverware in their sights.

City's Wembley win secured their third major trophy in three years after winning the 2011 FA Cup and 2012 Premier League.

And captain Vincent Kompany is confident Sunday won't be the last time he lifts a trophy for City.

"Wembley is the best stadium, for me it's the best in Europe, maybe even the world, and lifting the trophy here is something special," Kompany said.

"We never take anything for granted and we'll enjoy every moment.

"I think we should be hungry for more. We've achieved something great for the club and we need to carry on."

- AFP 

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