Bradford City boss Mark Hughes has indicated that he is focused on being successful in League Two and that a run in the Carabao Cup is not a priority, after speaking to Telegraph and Argus.
The Bantams fell to a 2-0 home defeat to Championship strugglers Middlesbrough in the third round, with goals from Emmanuel Latte Lath and Morgan Rogers sealing victory for Michael Carrick’s side.
Before coming up against Middlesbrough, Bradford took down League Two opposition in Accrington Stanley and Wrexham, both on penalties following 1-1 draws, to set up the tie against the Championship side in which they fell short on home soil.
Speaking after the game following their Carabao Cup exit, the Bradford boss has admitted that his side were very much against it after 20 minutes when Latte Lath gave the Championship side the advantage.
“We were up against a good team and needed to keep in the game and not allow ourselves to go behind,” said Hughes.
“As soon as we went behind, it was very difficult for us because they could just retain possession and bide their time.
“They were very comfortable on the ball and just waited for us to over-commit and then looked to pop it around us. It was difficult to press the game and put them under any pressure physically. They can handle the football and credit to them, they are a good team.
“We just needed a little bit more opportunity to stay in the game.”
Away from the cup, the Valley Parade outfit currently find themselves 11th in the League Two table after nine games, picking up three wins so far this season and currently occupying 13 points, with their next game being a home fixture against Walsall on Saturday.
However, in light of their exit from the competition, Bantams boss Hughes has insisted that the cup isn’t that important for his side, and that form in the league and getting promotion is of more importance.
Hughes added: “It’s not the result we were looking for, but the cup isn’t a priority for us this year.
“We’ve done better than we have done in recent years, so we’ll take that. The priority for us is the league and getting out of it.”
It’s clear to see that the Carabao Cup was never big on Mark Hughes this season as he properly wants to focus on finally taking Bradford back up to League One – something that he and their fans crave.
In saying that, reaching round three is not bad, knocking out two fellow League Two sides in the process so on the basis of it, it’s not been a bad cup run as they’ve made it this far, before eventually bowing out to higher league opposition.
However, Bradford now need that spark to ignite their season in what I feel has been a mixed start to the campaign. There is still a lot of football left to play, but Bradford will be hoping to claim three points against Walsall on Saturday with a chance they can move into the play-off positions for the first real time this season.